Many people either receive over-treatment, unnecessary treatment, or the completely wrong treatment due to hasty medical decision making and negligence. Antibiotics are given out like they are candy and screening tests are routinely being implemented into people’s lives for little reason. So what could be done on a health physicians part to reduce the number of unnecessary treatments?
The National Physicians Alliance, a 22,000 member group of doctors, came up with multiple lists that doctors could follow that would not only reduce the number of unnecessary treatments, but also reduce the unwanted costly expenditures. By more strictly prescribing a medical solution to health problems, people will be less likely to demand antibiotics for a sore throat, and doctors will certainly be less likely to prescribe them.
The suggestions on the lists aren’t particularly new, however, many medical physicians are slow to adopt the tips.
Top 5 List for Family Medicine
- Avoid imaging for lower back pain for at least 6 weeks unless red flags are existent
- Don’t immediately prescribe antibiotics for sinus inflammation since most are viral
- Lessen cardiac screenings in patients who show little or no symptoms and are at low risk
- Do not do Pap smears for women under 21 or those who had a hysterectomy for benign disease
- Restrict DEXA screenings for osteoporosis in women under 65 or men under 70 who have no risk factors
Top 5 List for Internal Medicine
- Do not order blood chemistry panels (test to assess kidney function and blood sugar) or urinalysis in healthy adults with no symptoms, since blood lipids tests alone yield most positive results
- Prescribe generic statins, or cholesterol-lower drugs, before brand name ones
- Reduce lower back imaging, as shown in the list above
- Lessen cardiac screening, as shown in the list above
- Restrict DEXA screenings, as shown in the list above
Top 5 List for Pediatrics
- Don’t prescribe antibiotics for a sore throat unless the patient has strep
- Avoid diagnostic images for minor head injuries if there was no loss of consciousness or other major indicators of damage
- Don’t immediately refer patients with middle-ear infections to specialists
- Advise against using cough and cold medicines
- Inform patients with asthma so that they are using corticosteroid medicines properly
It is a wise move to reduce medication prescriptions and medical tests, as they are completely unnecessary much of the time. Although prescription drugs and medical screenings are still being used all too often as a supplement for healthy eating, seeing a reduction in these tests and drugs is definitely a move in the right direction.