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Unnecessary, Obsolete And Magical Laboratory Testing In The United States

Sep 12, 2017

Recent national efforts, such as the Choosing Wisely campaign, have brought to light the fact that much of what we do in medicine is unnecessary. In pathology and laboratory medicine, common areas of resource overutilization include testing that has no demonstrable benefit, testing that is beneficial but used in an inefficient manner and testing that is performed in settings with perverse financial incentives.

Through review of the published literature on test utilization, demonstration of trends in large national payer databases and anecdotal evidence, this presentation will demonstrate the burden of testing that is occurring across the United States today that is either unnecessary, obsolete or non-evidence-based and related to fringe or pseudoscientific beliefs (that is, "magical"). Suggested interventions to address and prevent this test overutilization, applicable at the healthcare system level as well as at the payer level, will be discussed, with the aim of helping attendees increase the value of the care that they deliver in their respective areas.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify several commonly over utilized pathology and laboratory tests.
  • Examine several potential negative outcomes associated with test overutilization.
  • Analyze several interventions applicable at the health system level that have demonstrated success at decreasing wasteful testing practices.

Presenters:

Suzanne Dintzis, MD, PhD, FCAP
Geoffrey Baird, MD, PhD