- A new study by HealthCore showed three out of seven healthcare services deemed 'low-value' have slightly decreased over the past few years.
- Utilizing medical and pharmacy claims from Anthem-affiliated Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, with 25 million members, the study found since 2012, imaging for headaches fell from 14.9% to 13.4%, heart imaging for those without a history of heart conditions dropped from 10.8% to 9.7%, and antibiotics for sinusitis dropped from 84.5% to 83.7%.
- There were no changes in the use of pre-operative chest X-rays (91.5%) or imaging for lower back pain (53.7%), and use of prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increased from 14.4% to 16.2%, along with an increase in HPV testing in women under than age 30, from 4.8% to 6.0%.
Efforts to reduce overuse of 'low-value' services was started in 2009 with the Choosing Wisely campaign by the National Physicians Alliance. The campaign consists of 70 lists of medical practices and procedures experts describe as having little clinical benefit to patients.
The new study results, according to the authors, suggest "additional interventions are necessary" to reduce the use of the "low-value" services. Their suggestions include better communication training for physicians, strategies focused on patients and financial incentives.