Specialty Societies Target Questionable Tests

A number of leading medical specialty societies and patient advocacy groups led by Consumer Reports are calling attention to tests and procedures that often aren’t necessary and can actually be harmful. Organized by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation, the Choosing Wisely campaign began in April 2012 with nine specialty societies contributing to an initial master list of questionable treatments. In February 2013, 17 societies participated in the project either for the first or second time—with a rolling total of 130 tests and procedures identified. Recommendations include avoiding non-medically indicated inductions of labor or cesarean delivery before 39 weeks of pregnancy, avoiding use of feeding tubes in patients with advanced dementia, avoiding routine annual Pap tests in women 30–65 years of age, and avoiding automatic use of CT scans to evaluate children with minor head injuries.

Consumer Reports is promoting the campaign on its website and in its magazine and has produced 35 lay reader-friendly brochures highlighting findings. A third round of questionable tests and procedures is scheduled for publication in late 2013, and will involve 19 specialty societies, including the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Geriatrics Society. For additional information, visit www.abimfoundation.org.