National Physicians Alliance identifies “top 5” list for Primary Care physicians to cut costs

The National Physicians Alliance has identified key areas for physicians to focus on in order to provide high quality, affordable care, according to an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The recommendations include: 

Internal medicine:

  • Avoid imaging for lower back pain for 6 weeks unless there are red flags.
  • Do not order blood chemistry panels or urinalysis screening in asymptomatic healthy adults.
  • Do not order annual cardiac screening exams for asymptomatic, low risk patients
  • Use generic statins when beginning treatment for high cholesterol.
  • Do not use bone density scans for osteoporosis in women under age 65 and men under age 70 who have no risk factors

Pediatrics:

  • Do not prescribe antibiotics to children for a sore throat unless a strep test is positive
  • Do not order imaging for minor head injuries without loss of consciousness or other risk factors.
  • Do not refer OME cases to a specialist early in the course.
  • Advise parents to avoid giving their children over-the-counter cold medicines.
  • Use inhaled corticosteroids to control asthma appropriately.

Family medicine:

  • Avoid lower back pain imaging for six weeks unless there are red flags.
  • Do not routinely prescribe antibiotics for sinus infections because most are viral.
  • Do not order annual cardiac screening exams for asymptomatic, low risk patients
  • Do not perform Pap tests in women younger than 21 or in patients who have undergone a hysterectomy for benign disease.
  • Do not use bone density scans for osteoporosis in women under age 65 and men under age 70 who have no risk factors.

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, May 25, 2011; The National Physician Alliance, http://npalliance.org/, May, 2011)