Are You Getting Too Many Medical Tests? Here’s What Experts Say!

If you’ve had concerns about your doctor possibly ordering too many medical tests, you might be right. A study at the UCLA Department of Urology and the Veterans’ Health Administration serves as a potential wake-up call for people questioning the necessity of certain tests.

The study revealed that many doctors might be padding their income by ordering an excessive number of procedures and services that patients don’t actually require.

The Problem with Fee-For-Service Medicine

The researchers analyzed Medicare Part B payments from 2012 and discovered some troubling findings. In particular, they found out that doctors were earning more by providing patients with extra services and procedures, rather than seeing more unique patients.

As a result, the researchers expressed doubts about whether these additional services actually contribute to improved quality of care.

Researcher Jonathan Bergman noted that the problem lies in the health care reimbursement model, which is currently fee-for-service. This method involves physicians getting paid for every service they perform, regardless of their patient’s overall health.

In a nutshell, the more tests run and procedures done on a patient, the higher the income for the service provider. Consequently, this model does not create the right motivation for physicians to keep their patients in good health.

Bergman suggested reconsidering the current reimbursement method: “Fee-for-service may not be the most reasonable way to reimburse physicians.” He also emphasized the need for more research on this matter.

Prioritizing Patient Health

The UCLA review of Medicare data seeks to help prevent payment abuses and develop a better framework for managing the nation’s healthcare system.

“Our findings suggest a weakness in fee-for-service medicine,” Bergman warned. “Perhaps it would make more sense to reimburse clinicians for providing high-quality care or treating more patients. There probably shouldn’t be such wide variation in services for patients being treated for the same conditions.”

Moving away from a fee-for-service model and focusing on outcome-based reimbursements means putting the patient’s health first. In fact, according to the Healthcare Financial Management Association, one potential solution is the Value-Based Health Care model, which aims to align payments with health outcomes.

How to Reduce Unnecessary Medical Tests

As a patient, you can take matters into your own hands and reduce the likelihood of going through unnecessary tests. Here are a few steps you can take:

Ask Questions

Make sure to ask your doctor questions about any test or procedure they suggest. Inquire about why it’s necessary, how it will affect your overall treatment, and the potential risks and benefits involved.

Do Your Research

Equip yourself with knowledge about your condition and the possible treatments and tests associated with it. This will allow you to have informed and meaningful conversations with your healthcare providers.

Seek a Second Opinion

If you have doubts about the necessity of a test your doctor recommended, consider consulting with another healthcare professional.

Discuss Alternative Treatments

In some cases, alternative treatments may be a better fit for your needs or even more cost-effective. Ask your doctor about these options and weigh their potential effectiveness against the recommended tests or procedures.

Pay Attention to Your Insurance Coverage

Be aware of your insurance plan and which tests or treatments are covered. Sometimes, doctors may not be familiar with your specific insurance coverage, so it’s important to do your part in understanding your coverage limitations.


The practice of ordering unnecessary medical tests is undoubtedly problematic, as it impacts both the overall healthcare system and the patients themselves. While changing reimbursement methods might serve as a long-term solution, taking proactive measures now ensures that patients receive quality healthcare. Being informed and asking questions allows you to make sure you undergo only the necessary tests and get the best possible care.