It seems like basic common sense: Encourage cancer screenings, diagnose and treat the disease early, save lives. It turns out the "save lives" part of that equation is a lot harder to support, according to an article in BMJ.
When residents are confronted by patients requesting unnecessary tests, they order the tests anyway, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. For the study, undercover instructors posed as patients requesting the tests. Not only did the 60 residents involved in the study order the tests the first time, but they did so again months later after receiving in-person coaching from instructors or educational materials to read.
One reason for the widespread problem of diagnostic errors is the pressure clinicians are under to avoid unnecessary tests and control healthcare costs, according to a leading healthcare expert who was one of the reviewers of the recent Institute of Medicine report that revealed most people will experience a misdiagnosis at some point in their lives.
To create systems that support doctors and allow them to do the best possible job, healthcare leaders should keep three key principles in mind, according to a Health Affairs blog post.
Providers who better understand the specific uses of different kinds of laboratory tests order fewer unnecessary tests and provide better patient care, Medscape Medical News reported from the American Society for Clinical Pathology conference.
Computerized physician order entry with decision-support alerts can help to curb unnecessary CT scans, according to new research published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Displaying the cost of a test via computerized provider order entry systems prompted a 9 percent reduction in the number of tests ordered, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Alerts generated to advise physicians that a test on heart failure patients already had been performed helped Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania reduce unnecessary testing by 21 percent and save approximately $92,000 a year.
Attending physicians with excess patient encounters said they were more likely to order unnecessary tests, have poorer patient satisfaction and see worse patient outcomes.
Despite national efforts to curb unnecessary testing, half of older Medicare patients had a repeat heart, lung, stomach or bladder test within three years of an initial test.