Posted on May 09, 2012
Last month, nine medical specialty boards made announcements that may have far reaching impacts on medical treatment in the United States. The doctors admitted that many profitable tests, procedures and treatments are overused and could harm patients. Accordingly, the boards recommended that 45 different tests, procedures, and treatments be used less often.

The announcement by the separate boards came in a unified message through the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation and Consumer Reports. The message contained in the announcement was directed both to physicians and to patients. Physicians have been advised to look closely at whether the medical tests, procedures and treatments are warranted and whether they may do more harm than good to the individual whom they are treating. Simultaneously, patients are being encouraged to ask questions about their treatment and to provide consent for a test, procedure, or treatment only after they are given a good reason as to why it is warranted.

The 45 specific recommendations are diverse, but many cover common ailments. For example, it is recommended that physicians refrain from prescribing antibiotics for mild sinusitis and that MRIS not be provided every time a patient complaints of back pain.

The recommendations have been met with mixed reviews. Some doctors and patients believe that it will decrease the cost of health care, protect patients from unnecessary tests and treatments, and protect doctors from the threat of litigation. However, others are concerned that doctors abide by the guidelines and fail to take into account the individual needs of patients which could lead to harm.

Our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys hope that the new guidelines help protect patients from harm and promote safety in the American health care system.

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