Doctors Admit that Many Medical Tests and Procedures are Unnecessary

Seventy-three percent of doctors say that unnecessary tests and procedures create a serious problem for America’s health care system. Three quarters say that, at least once a week, the average doctor orders unnecessary medical tests and procedures , according to research by the ABIM Foundation. Sixty-six percent of doctors say that doctors have a great deal of responsibility to make sure their patients avoid unnecessary tests and procedures. Yet, more than half admit that they’d give an unnecessary medical test to an insistent patient. Seventy percent say that after they speak with a patient about why a test or procedure is unnecessary, the patient often avoids it. The survey, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, comes two years after the launch of a campaign, called “Choosing Wisely.” The campaign encourages doctors and patients to discuss whether certain medical tests and procedures are really necessary. Since April 2012, 60 medical specialty societies have identified more than 250 tests and procedures that are overused or inappropriate. Twenty-one percent of physicians are aware of the Choosing Wisely campaign. And 62% say they are more likely to reduce the number of times they recommend an unnecessary test or procedure. That compares to 45% of doctors who are unaware of the campaign. For more information, visit

Last Updated 01/19/2022

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