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Doctors Target Overtreatment And Avoidable Care

The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation listed 45 problem items that they say doctors and patients should question. (AP)

Here in Massachusetts, with global payment systems gaining traction, the idea that more health care doesn’t exactly mean better health care isn’t entirely new.

And with the rising cost of health care, targeting wasteful spending is something almost everyone can get onboard with. But once you start getting specific — that is to say, start talking about this test or that treatment — that’s when you run into trouble.

That’s what happened back in 2009 when a panel of experts recommended reducing the frequency of mammograms, as well as raising the age at which women should start receiving them. The recommendations stoked outrage and concern that the recommendations would lead to denied coverage.

On Wednesday, a group of doctors got specific. The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation listed 45 problem items that they say doctors and patients should question.

For instance, on colorectal cancer, the group recommends colonoscopy screenings every 10 years — provided that they come back negative. They also say EKGs shouldn’t be part of routine physicals for all patients, and advise against performing cancer screenings on dialysis patients with limited life expectancy.

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Host Meghna Chakrabarti introduces us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and brings us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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