Doctors’ overuse of pap tests has recently been put under closer inspection. Up to now there has been no concerted effort to quantify the extent of doctors’ overuse of unnecessary tests, but a U.S. task force has devised a method to tally up the numbers in the state of Washington. The task force researched 3.3 million Washington residents’ Medicaid records and insurance claims between 2011 and 2012. The numbers were surprising. Here is what they found:
• 57 percent of Washington female patients (almost 97,000 women) received too many Pap tests. http://seattletimes.com/html/health/2024655331_tabchoosewiselyxml.html
That number deserves a second look: 97,000 women received unnecessary pap tests. That’s a lot of women getting an invasive test they didn’t need, and probably didn’t want. And that’s only in one State, in one year.
Doctors’ overuse of tests and procedures was not limited to pap smears. Other unnecessary tests and procedures had been overused also, as the following table shows:
Pap tests are often presented as a mandate, rather than as a choice. Many women may not know they have the right to refuse pap tests. Some doctors are not informing women that they have the right to say “no” to pap smears and other tests. Some doctors are also not informing women about the potential harms of pap testing. Ethical treatment and respect for women’s right to informed consent in all areas of health care is long overdue.
Informed Consent Missing:http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2009/11/informed-consent-missing-pap-smears-cervical-cancer-screening.html
Why Doctor Does Not Have Smears:http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/2234123-why-i-don-t-have-smears
Top five reasons for opting out of pap tests: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2014/04/19/top-five-reasons-for-opting-of-pap-tests/
Male doctors honest opinion on pap tests: https://forwomenseyesonly.com/2012/09/09/the-other-side-of-the-speculum-a-male-doctors-point-of-view/