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Take This to Heart: Study Questions Routine Coronary Screenings

One of the things that likely strikes many visitors to hospitals and medical clinics as being predominantly impressive is the high-tech capability that fairly exudes in such specialized environments.

Put another way: Most lay persons might not know exactly what that machine is that was just rolled into a room, but they can immediately see that it is the end product of years of research and undoubtedly costs many millions of dollars to develop.

You name it (well, you probably can’t name it), and any self-respecting hospital in Missouri or elsewhere of a certain size has got it, along with a wide array of other high-tech assists that guide health evaluation and treatment.

With such prized possessions on hand, of course, comes the inclination to use them, often and in many treatment contexts.

And it is precisely that quick trigger on diagnostic testing recommendations that concerns many medicals experts and industry commentators.

Their core concern is easily expressed as a question, namely this: Are too many doctors too routinely recommending diagnostic screening assessments for their patients? In other words, are they sometimes inappropriately defaulting to screening tests that bring no material benefits?

Such a focal concern seems immediately relevant and merited. After all, use of machines likes MRIs and echocardiograms sharply drives up the costs of medical care.

And, note researchers, quick reliance on diagnostic testing tools is simply misguided in many cases and can actually harm rather than help patients.

We will take a closer look at that in our next blog post, focusing especially on recently published findings regarding the use of screening tests for heart-related concerns.