Ethics of Commercial Screening Tests

Annals: November 20, 2012

Recent publications have emphasized the importance of physicians taking a leading role in delivering patient-centered, high-value, cost-conscious care (1 – 3). Scientifically valid preventive services, 19 of which were recently endorsed by the National Quality Forum (4), improve the health of the population and reduce costs by means of avoidance of expensive care for advanced disease. Low-cost screening for hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and tobacco use and treatment with lifestyle modification and medications can prevent more than 50% of heart attacks and strokes (5). However, the increasing availability of direct-to-consumer screening tests is undermining physician efforts to provide high-quality, cost-conscious screening services to patients through shared decision making. Read more