RA Experts Say ‘End Useless Tests’

As part of a ‘Choosing Wisely’ campaign aimed at eliminating unnecessary, and costly, medical procedures, professional societies representing 17 medical disorders have compiled a list of 90 – 90! – tests and screening procedures that should be restricted because they are largely useless. These are tests given to patients in hospitals and doctors offices daily that raise our health care costs while doing us no good.

The rheumatology suggestions are the following:

Less inappropriate ANA screening
Do not test for ANA subserologies without a positive ANA, since most subserologies are negative if the ANA is negative.

Fewer Lyme Tests
Stop testing for Lyme disease with no exposure history.

Less imaging
Stop the MRIs used for routine monitoring and stop the annual DXAs for bone density since DXAs are largely unreliable.

RA: Try Methotrexate First
Don’t rush to prescribe dangerous biologics without trying less lethal drugs first.

For those of us who have been on the receiving end of these unnecessary, often useless, and sometimes dangerous tests, this list is not a happy one.

To find out about other useless tests routinely performed on us in the offices of other sub-specialists go to the ‘Choosing Wisely’ website. You’ll have to register to see the article but it’s worth it.


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