Prospective screening of diagnostic testing: a valuable tool.
The elimination of unneeded services is a key to reducing medical costs and enhancing quality of care. Diagnostic tests have been a target of efforts to reduce costs primarily because they are discretionary and often appear to be unnecessary. Believing that the concept of prior review for many diagnostic tests is a good one, this pilot study sought to evaluate prospectively the propriety of diagnostic tests ordered during the first half of 1989 on individuals insured through a major insurance carrier. A physician review found that 21% of the tests were deemed inappropriate, leading to the conclusion that prospective review can be an effective means of screening inappropriately ordered tests.