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Those Unnecessary “Little” Tests

Those Unnecessary “Little” Tests

More often than not primary care offices will add routine “little” tests and practices that add up when multiplied across the US healthcare system.

More often than not primary care offices will add routine “little” tests and practices that add up when multiplied across the US healthcare system. A recent article in the Archive of Internal Medicine journal stated that such typical, but not useful, screening tests and procedures done within health maintenance examinations add up to $5 billion/year!

Here are examples of tests and practices that if eliminated could put this money back into the health care system:

* Treating viral pharyngitis (sore throat caused from a virus instead of bacteria such as Strep) with antibiotics. (41% of visits) $116.3 million

* Prescribing brand name statins (medication to treat elevated cholesterol) instead of generic. (34.6% of visits)

* Ordering routine complete blood count (CBC) in adults. (56% of visits) $32.7 million

* Ordering Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) in adults (16% of visits) $10.1 million

* Annual electrocardiogram (EKG) (19% of visits) $16.6 million

* Urinalysis (UA) (18% of visits) $3.4 million

* Cough medicines for children (12% of visits) $10.3 million

* Papanicolaou tests (PAP) for patients younger than 21 years (2.9% visits) $47.7 million

* DEXA scans (bone density scans) for women younger than 64 years (1.4% of visits) $527.4 million

(Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, Professor of Family Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA)

Freeman Medical Clinic
✆ Phone (appointments): 512-391-9400
✆ Phone (general inquiries): 512-391-9400
Fax Number: 512-391-9401
Address: 1611 W. 5th St., Suite #180, Austin, TX 78703