Australian doctors and patients are being asked to “choose wisely” before ordering a range of popular tests which might be ineffective, expensive and unnecessary.
A campaign to reduce over-testing and treatment is being launched in Australia, following the success of the initiative in the United States.
Among the five things doctors and consumers should question are:
- Do not use reflux drugs known as proton pump inhibitors for long periods without trying to reduce doses
- Do not start drugs for high blood pressure or high cholesterol without assessing overall risk for cardiovascular disease
- Do not advocate routine self-monitoring of blood glucose for Type 2 diabetes patients on oral medicines
- Do not screen low risk patients with no symptoms using stress tests and ECG
- Avoid prescribing benzodiazepines to people with a history of substance abuse
The campaign is being spearheaded by NPS Medicinewise.
Five medical societies including the college of radiologists and the college of pathologists have drawn up lists of tests and treatments they recommend doctors and patients should question.
NPS Medicinewise chief executive Dr Lyn Weekes said the campaign was designed to stimulate discussion about appropriate testing.
“The initiative challenges the notion that more is always better when it comes to healthcare,” she said.
Patient groups said the campaign exposes health care to the type of scrutiny which has often been absent in the past.
Health care spending is in the spotlight with the Federal Government announcing major reviews into the Medicare benefits schedule and primary care and the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.