Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Do You Really Need a Yearly Checkup? | Yahoo! Health

Do You Really Need a Yearly Checkup? | Yahoo! Health By Lisa Collier Cool

Excerpt

Typically, a routine visit with your primary care doctor involves a slew of tests and screenings. While patients are often told that all this poking and prodding is crucial to protect their health, is there any scientific evidence to support that? A decade ago, the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent group of medical experts appointed by Congress, concluded that yearly physicals are unnecessary for healthy, symptom-free adults.

What’s more, a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine*** reports that primary care doctors often order unnecessary and inappropriate tests, screenings and treatments, costing the healthcare system—and patients—$6.8 billion in 2009. The annual checkup is a prime culprit in needlessly driving up medical bills, the researchers found, with dubious or worthless tests ordered in up to 56 percent of these exams.

Find out how to save big on rising healthcare costs.

Instead of a yearly checkup, the new thinking is that healthy patients should “check in” with their doctors periodically, on a schedule tailored to their individual needs, to discuss any medical concerns and which tests truly are appropriate for their age, gender, and family history. Here’s a look at routine screenings that primary care doctors are most likely to use needlessly, according to analysis by the National Physicians Alliance (NPA)—and when these tests are worthwhile….

Read the article (it includes comments about specific tests)

***The article, “Top 5” Lists Top $5 Billion, is available online only through paid subscription.
Click here for suggestions on how to get this article (and other science/medicine articles) for free or at low cost 

Here are the first 150 words of the Top 5 article from the Archives of Internal Medicine Web page

Minal S. Kale, MD; Tara F. Bishop, MD, MPH; Alex D. Federman, MD, MPH; Salomeh Keyhani, MD, MPH 

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(20):1856-1858. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.501

Since this article does not have an abstract, we have provided the first 150 words of the full text and any section headings.

The Good Stewardship Working Group presented the top 5 overused clinical activities across 3 primary care specialties (pediatrics, internal medicine, and family medicine), as chosen by physician panel consensus.1 All activities were believed to be common in primary care but of little benefit to patients. We examined the frequency and associated costs of these activities using a national sample of ambulatory care visits.

Methods

We performed a cross-sectional analysis using data from the 2009 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). The NAMCS and NHAMCS survey patient visits to physicians in non–federally funded, non–hospital-based offices and non–federally funded hospital outpatient departments, respectively.2

We limited our sample to visits by patients to their primary care physicians. Visits for each “top 5” primary care activity were identified . . . [Full Text of this Article]


December 27, 2011 - Posted by | health care | , , , , ,

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