Yesterday I mentioned that Doctors estimate our country spends $6.8 billion in unnecessary tests. Who can fix this? We all can, doctors, health systems, patients, and insurers.
In 2011 The National Physician’s Alliance (NPA) published work on the Good Stewardship Project, a pilot which was developed with funding from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. The initial effort worked with physicians in three specialties to “define 5 things “you can do in your practice” to provide excellent patient care while appropriately conserving health care resources in the fields of internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics.”
Subsequent to that pilot the NPA continues to work with specialties to take on both looking at the evidence and the education of patients regarding tests that have no evidence and should be considered unnecessary. The aim is to engage physicians in conversation with their patients to choose “care that is:
- Supported by evidence
- Not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received
- Free from harm
- Truly necessary”
Consumer Reports is on board helping to develop materials for patients. By 2014 more than 30 specialty organizations will have created evidence based lists of care that is not supported by evidence and/or may be unnecessary. This represents over 500,000 physicians who are represented by these groups who commit to work with their patients to make wise choices. The link to all of the specialty organizations, with links to their lists is here.
The Family Medicine list, as an example, is below. The data and evidence is here.