Medicine: Going Overboard on Medical Tests

Often inaccurate, diagnostic aids may be a costly trap %

These days, a medical encounter would hardly feel complete to either doctor or patient without a battery of diagnostic tests. The days when doctors' decisions were guided solely by what they heard, saw, felt and thought have gone the way of the house call. With 1,380 tests available, from blood counts to CAT scans to electrocardiograms, some 19 billion were performed last year in the U.S. That means almost 80 tests for every man, woman and child, which surely makes Americans among the most analyzed people on the planet. In recent years, the amount of testing has steadily increased, by 10%...

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