Choosing Wisely

follow your heart

There has been lots of discussion as a result of my blog about my gallbladder surgery in relation to the Time article: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.

Mostly, everyone doubts the possibility of change in the healthcare industry’s greed but it happens that National Physicians Alliance teamed up with Consumer Reports to promote the Choosing Wisely® campaign to promote conversations between physicians and patients to choose truly necessary, free from harm, evidence supported care.

National organizations representing medical specialists developed lists of Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question. Some examples:

The American Society of Echocardiography recommended against using echocardiograms before or during surgery for patients with no history or symptoms of heart disease; doctors routinely perform this test.

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging urged physicians not to perform routine annual stress testing using a nuclear heart scan after coronary artery surgery. This is also a routine test that exposes the patient to radiation equivalent to 2,000 chest X-rays.

The American Academy of Pediatrics urged doctors not to automatically use CT scans to evaluate children’s minor head injuries. Approximately 50 percent of children who visit hospital emergency departments with head injuries undergo a CT scan, exposing them to radiation and not to treat children under 4 years of age with cough and cold medicines which have little benefit and may cause serious side effects.

Several physician groups recommended against prescribing antibiotics for common respiratory illnesses, including sinusitis, sore throat and bronchitis. Viruses, not bacteria, cause the vast majority of these illnesses making antibiotics pointless.

It’s a start.

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