Unnecessary tests, treatment increased this LA practice's complication risk by 29%, cost of care by 7%

Kaiser Health News reports clinicians waste a large sum of money and risk patient harm when they order unnecessary tests and treatments.

Here are five points:

1. The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation's Choosing Wisely campaign works to prevent providers from ordering unnecessary tests and treatments. Launched in 2012, the campaign implores medical societies to identify at least five common tests or procedures that offer minimal benefit.

2. Financial incentives and fear of malpractice lawsuits spur clinicians to order more tests. With these factors in mind, Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai Medical Center electronically alerted providers when they ordered tests or drugs that contradicted 18 Choosing Wisely recommendations.

3. After analyzing alerts from 26,424 patient encounters from 2013 to 2016, Cedars-Sinai found:
● Providers followed all 18 guidelines in 6 percent of cases
● When clinicians didn't follow guidelines, their patients had a 14 percent higher incidence of readmission
● Patients had a 29 percent higher complication risk when providers did not following the recommendations
● These associated readmissions and complications increased cost of care by 7 percent

4. Estimates say healthcare wastes total $200 billion and cause 300,000 deaths from excessive testing and treatment each year.

5. These shocking estimates propelled healthcare purchasers to work together to offset this trends. San Diego-based Sharp-Rees-Stealy Medical Group said it lowered unnecessary lab tests by more than 10 percent through educating patients and physicians about overuse.

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