When it comes to unneeded medical tests Susan Langlois has been there and done that.
She has a long history of unexplained head pain and so many tests she's lost count.
"I'm unclear about how many exactly but I think I've had between five and seven CT scans and five and eight MRI's in the last ten years and they are all the same results; well, actually, no results,” Susan said. “They say everything is fine, keep moving."
Both CT's and MRI's are on the list of tests deemed to be unnecessary unless signs of seizure are also present.
Baylor-garland family doctor Jane Sadler is on board with the call to end unneeded tests and procedures and cites a 2005 study by the National Academy of Sciences that found that 30% of healthcare spending was a waste of money--to the tune of 700- billion dollars a year.
"The use of antibiotics is a great example,” Dr. Sadler said. “So many times people come in with one or two days of respiratory symptoms, we know that 90% of respiratory illnesses are viral this means you do not need an antibiotic."
Dr. Sadler said the list goes on--from x-rays for back pain to stress tests for healthy people.
Dr. Sadler said patients and doctors need to rethink how they look at healthcare.
Often time’s one unneeded test snowballs into other unneeded tests.
"Many times you'll find an incidental finding outside of what you're looking for, say a spot on the liver, well, then we go chasing the spot on the live with CT scans or MRI's only to find out that it is entirely benign, a benign anomaly or abnormality that doesn't require further testing," Dr. Sadler said.
Susan recalled that after the first few MRI's the rest seemed pointless and if a doctor orders a bunch of tests or pills--she looks for another doctor.
"There is such a thing as too much, doctor," Susan said with a laugh.
Now many doctors agree.
For a complete list of tests and procedures, please visit: choosingwisely.org