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Many Doctors Order Unnecessary Tests: Study

By    |   Thursday, 12 Feb 2015 03:44 PM

Doctors often blame patient demands for unnecessary medical tests that contribute to high medical costs. But a new study indicates physicians — not patients — are primarily to blame for ordering unnecessary tests and treatments.

The study — conducted by Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D., and colleagues in the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania — tracked 5,050 cancer patient-clinician visits and found that only 440 (8.7 percent) included a patient demand or request for a medical intervention.
 
The findings, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, noted about half of the requests (49.1 percent) were for imaging studies, 13.6 percent were for laboratory tests such as tumor markers, and 5.2 percent were for genetic tests or chemosensitivity tests.
 
"We decided to look specifically at cancer patients' demands because oncology is a setting where there are life-and-death stakes for patients and the drugs and tests can get very expensive," said Emanuel. "However, we found, contrary to expectations, that patient demands are low and cannot be a key driver of increasing health care costs."

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A new study indicates physicians - not patients - are primarily to blame for ordering unnecessary tests and treatments that drive up healthcare costs.
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2015-44-12
Thursday, 12 Feb 2015 03:44 PM
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