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ASCP Joins Campaign to Improve the Use of Medical Tests

Monday, March 26, 2012

ASCP has joined the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation’s campaign to start physicians, patients, and other healthcare stakeholders thinking and talking about the overuse or misuse of medical tests and procedures that provide little benefit and, in some instances, cause harm to patients. Called Choosing Wisely, the campaign will provide resources for consumers and physicians to engage in these important conversations. That means helping patients choose care that is supported by evidence, not duplicative of other tests and procedures already received, free from harm, and truly necessary.

“The laboratory plays an important role in the total testing represented in the patient charts—up to 70 percent—therefore it is critical that ASCP, with its 100,000-plus experts in clinical and anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine make appropriate recommendations to clinicians regarding test utilization. As a patient-centric organization, this is our ethical responsibility.”
—Dr. Blair Holladay
National medical specialty societies that join the campaign will identify five tests or procedures often used their area, whose use could be debated. The resulting lists will spark conversations about the need or lack of need for many frequently ordered tests or treatments. As a first step as part of its commitment to the Choosing Wisely campaign, ASCP will be working closely with its members
and leadership over the next few months to identify five laboratory tests that we can use better to help our patients.

“We're pleased to be working alongside the American Board of Internal Medicine and several other partners, including the American College of Physicians and the American College of Radiology to discuss and to decipher the real issue of over testing in medicine,” said Dr. Blair Holladay, ASCP Executive Vice President. “The laboratory plays an important role in the total testing represented in the patient charts—up to 70 percent—therefore it is critical that ASCP, with its 100,000-plus experts in clinical and anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine make appropriate recommendations to clinicians regarding test utilization. As a patient-centric organization, this is our ethical responsibility.”

In addition to ASCP, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Radiology, these organizations have joined the campaign since late 2011: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; American Academy of Family Physicians; American College of Cardiology; American Gastroenterological Association; American Society of Clinical Oncology; American Society of Nephrology; American Society of Nuclear Cardiology; and Consumer Reports. Additional partners were expected to be announced in early April.

“The Choosing Wisely campaign represents an important turning point in American medicine,” said Philip Castle, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of the ASCP Institute and Center for Health Services Research. “It is a landmark effort to look introspectively on how medical procedures and tests are used and identify those that can be used more appropriately and effectively to improve patient care. The Choosing Wisely mission is in alignment with ASCP’s efforts to become more patient focused. ASCP’s participation in this important activity will help our Center for Health Services Research provide leadership on better laboratory test utilization. We are excited and honored to join this campaign and to work closely with ABIM and the Choosing Wisely campaign over the coming years to address the needs of our patients through better access and use of clinical laboratory tests.”

Choosing Wisely is part of the ABIM Foundation’s goal of promoting wise choices by clinicians in order to improve health outcomes, provide patient-centered care that avoids unnecessary and even harmful interventions, and reduce the rapidly expanding costs of the healthcare system. www.choosingwisely.org.


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