“Will that test change your management?”
This question is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. Each time I order a test or write a prescription, I try to ask myself if it will make my patient healthier or feel better. When I use my high deductible catastrophic insurance plan to see my doctor, I wonder the same thing. My patients who do not have insurance want to know if the test I order for them is worth the cash they will have to pay on the way out.
- Routine complete blood count in adults (56% of visits): $32.7 million
- Basic metabolic panel in adults (16%): $10.1 million
- Annual electrocardiogram (ECG) (19%): $16.6 million
- Urinalysis (18%): $3.4 million
- Antibiotics for viral pharyngitis (41%): $116.3 million
- Cough medicines for children (12%) : 10.3 million
- Brand name statins (atorvastatin or rosuvastatin) instead of generic statins (34.6%): $5.8 billion
- Pap smears for patients younger than 21 years (2.9%): $47.7 million
- Bone density (DEXA) scans for women younger than 64 years (1.4%): $527.4 million
Kale MS, Bishop TF, Federman AD, Keyhani S. “Top 5” lists top $5 billion. Arch Intern Med 2011;171(20):1856-1858.