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September 26, 2018

Drop the pre-op!

All patients need pre-op evaluation, but a low-risk patient having a low-risk procedure does not need pre-op testing. Routine preoperative lab studies, pulmonary function tests, X-rays and EKGs on healthy patients before low-risk procedures are not recommended because they are unlikely to provide useful, actionable information while posing a health risk to patients.

And yet, a recent study in Washington state reveals that at least 100,000 patients received unnecessary pre-op testing during a one-year period, at an estimated cost of over $92 million—a very conservative estimate.

The WSMA and the Washington State Choosing Wisely Task Force recommend several actions that physicians, hospitals, health care organizations and payers can take to reduce unnecessary pre-op testing, including clinical team education, EHR prompts, checklists and more. The task force has developed a simple, information sheet as well as several educational resources to help spread the word—find these in the Physician Tool Kit on our Choosing Wisely webpage.

Providing high-quality care to patients includes eliminating unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures. As physicians, we play a critical role in initiating the conversations about appropriate care with patients and other clinicians. The WSMA can help you with those conversations. Learn more.

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