Is your hospital performing unnecessary tests and procedures?

Abstract: "Like so much in American healthcare, the practice outran the evidence: there have been randomized trials that have shown that vertebroplasty for osteoporosis in the elderly is not an effective therapy," Saini said. "New people who are getting into the field may not do it, but people who always did it, they're always going to say, 'Well, I don't trust that evidence, it works for me.' There's a lot of that in medicine."

Saini said it will take doctors to personally decide to no longer order unnecessary tests and procedures.

"But hospitals are also often willing participants because some of this needs fancy, expensive equipment," Saini said. "So when the hospital incurs a capital cost, you get a situation where now you got to pay off that investment, and I think it's a sort of mutual back scratching that happens."

The Institute wants to see doctors and hospital administrators take a hard look at what procedures they do first as the pandemic recedes in much of the country and elective surgeries begin again. Saini wants to see unnecessary tests integrated into safety and quality rankings, instead of just including measures like complications and infections.

"Whether or not you really even need this care ought to be one of the fundamental pillars of what quality means," Saini said. "But there has not been a national framework in which, for example, the Joint Commission on Accreditation, or NQF, or any of these folks, really made this a fundamental plank of their mission."