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03 Feb 2017

A new study has found many Australians to have contradicting views about unnecessary medical tests.

The Choosing Wisely in Australia 2016 Report has revealed that while Australian patients understand the importance of reducing unnecessary medical testing, many still want their doctors to conduct all the available tests related to their condition – whether or not they need them.

The study found that 71 per cent of people agreed with reducing unnecessary care, yet 74 per cent indicated that if they were sick then their doctor should conduct all available medical tests related to their condition.

The study is from Choosing Wisely Australia, which is part of a global movement aiming to improve the quality of health care by eliminating unnecessary procedures, and was facilitated by NPS MedicineWise.

Dr Lynn Weekes, CEO of NPS MedicineWise, said the report revealed some contradictory attitudes among consumers around medical testing.

It also showed a need for thorough conversations between healthcare professionals and their patients about treatment options.

“There’s an obvious disconnect between doctors and patients about why unnecessary testing is occurring,” Dr Weekes said.

“Of those we surveyed, 41 per cent of GPs and 21 per cent of specialists said they were asked by patients for unnecessary tests several times a week. But 79 per cent of consumers said they had tests at their healthcare provider’s recommendation.

“This certainly highlights the need for better conversations on both sides.”

Chris Johnson


Published: 03 Feb 2017