When it comes to your health, more can be better. More exercise. More fruits and vegetables. More sleep. But maybe not more tests. A talk with your doctor is the smart way to make sure you end up with the right amount of care: not too much, not too little. The Washington Health Alliance has partnered with the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, the Washington State Medical Association and Consumer Reports to help you make sure you are Choosing Wisely® when it comes to your care.
As part of Choosing Wisely, national medical organizations created lists of common tests or procedures that patients and doctors should talk about. These lists of “Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” provide specific recommendations based on scientific evidence. These lists, designed by physicians, were created to improve care and reduce unneeded tests and procedures by encouraging conversations among doctors and patients.
Here are a few highlights on five topics that are particularly important. Keep these in mind when you talk to your doctor about your treatment needs.
Overuse of Cervical Cancer Screenings
Pap tests for cervical cancer are important, but whether and how frequently you should have them should be based upon your age, risk factors and medical history.
Overuse of Antibiotics
Antibiotics are prescribed more often than necessary, which can do more harm than good.
Overuse of Cardiac Imaging
Heart imaging can help doctors plan your treatment, but if you don’t have an existing heart condition or symptoms of one, and are low risk, these tests may not help.
Overuse of Other Imaging
MRIs, CT scans and other high-resolution imaging options are great tools, but for low back pain, headaches and sinusitis, these tests don’t always make sense.
Overuse of Early Elective Deliveries
An early elective delivery is a birth scheduled by choice before the 39th week of pregnancy without a medical reason or need.