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Choosing Wisely

Consumer Reports is working with doctors to help patients avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful medical care

Last updated: September 2013

Doctors often order tests and recommend treatments when they shouldn’t—sometimes even when they know they shouldn’t. In fact, nearly half of primary-care physicians say their own patients get too much medical care, according to a survey conducted by researchers at Dartmouth College. And the Congressional Budget Office says that up to 30 percent of the health care in the U.S. is unnecessary.

The problem has become so serious that the ABIM Foundation, together with more than 20 professional medical societies, have joined forces in a project called Choosing Wisely in which each group identifies five tests or treatments that they themselves say are done too often. (Read more about the Choosing Wisely campaign.)

Consumer Reports is also participating in the effort, by helping the medical societies produce videos (above) and PDFs that doctors can share with patients about specific overused tests and treatments. Some of those PDFs are shown below. (See a complete list of the reports, including some in Spanish and Easy Read versions.) In addition, we are also writing about the issue of unnecessary and overused medical care in our own publications. Some of those stories are also shown below.

   

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