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Top 5 list to improve quality of primary care medicine

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On the NPR Shots blog, Scott Hensley writes, “Quality Prescription For Primary Care Doctors: Do Less,” about an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Excerpt:

“A group of docs who want to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of primary care tinkered with some Top 5 lists for of dos and don’ts for pediatricians, family doctors and internists.

After testing them a bit, they published online by the Archives of Internal Medicine. Most of the advice falls in the category of less is more.

So what should family doctors not be doing? The Top 5 list for them goes like this:

1. No MRI or other imaging tests for low back pain, unless it has persisted longer than six weks or there are red flags, such as neurological problems.
2. No antibiotics for mild to moderate sinusitis, unless it has lasted a week or long. Or the condition worsens after first getting better.
3. No annual electrocardiograms for low-risk patients without cardiac symptoms.
4. No Pap tests in patients under 21, or women who’ve had hysterectomies for non-malignant disease.
5. No bone scans for women under 65 or men under 70, unless they have specific risk factors.”

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