CMIO, October 4, 2011

A team of researchers has analyzed the Top 5 overused clinical activities for primary care physicians presented by the Good Stewardship Working Group. Although imaging dominated the Top 5 list, the recommendations published online Oct. 1 in the Archives of Internal Medicine focused on curbing brand name statin prescriptions and addressing high cost activities in non-primary care specialties. Among the major points put forth in the article from Minal S. Kale, MD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues, is that more focus is needed on reducing costs by shifting to cheaper generic drugs, particularly by reducing the use of expensive, brand name statins. They also noted that the scope of such lists should be wider than just primary care. "Expanding the methods of physician consensus to identify 'high-value' targets to specialties outside of primary care could bring us closer to achieving the goal of affordable and high-quality healthcare," wrote the authors. The Good Stewardship Working Group had previously presented the top five overused clinical activities across the three primary care specialties of pediatrics, internal medicine, and family medicine, as chosen by physician panel consensus. All of the items on the list were believed to be commonly used, but offered little benefit to patients.
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