Seventeen societies of medical specialists say people are wasting their money, and everyone's time, not to mention sometimes putting themselves at risk, by insisting on unnecessary treatments or exams.
The American Board of Internal Medicine says billions of dollars could be saved by eliminating just a few useless tests and procedures. LSU Health Sciences Center internal medicine specialist Cathi Fontenot says that part of it, but mostly, she says, "I think it's just trying to provide good medical care."
Dr. Fontenot gives an example: "If a patient, for instance, is having neck pain and that neck pain's been going on for less than a month or so, for a patient to walk in to a physician's office and request an MRI...that's probably not a good idea."
The coalition identified 90 tests and procedures it says are overused. Dr. Fontenot said the key is making sure doctors are communicating with patients about when symptoms need more testing and treatment.