Washington Post March 12, 2013
Older U.S. adults may get too many colonoscopies, costing Medicare an estimated $500 million a year and putting patients at an increased risk of side effects such as bleeding, UTMB researchers found. About one-quarter of colonoscopies in Medicare recipients ages 70 and older may be inappropriate based on screening guidelines, according to analysis of insurance claims data released yesterday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. “Inappropriate colonoscopies involve an unnecessary risk with no added benefit for the older patient,” said Kristin Sheffield, the study’s lead author. “The harms are greater than the expected benefit.” The news appears widely throughout the world, appearing in such outlets as The New York Times, MSN, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Yahoo! News, Houston Business Journal, Businessweek, U.S. News & World Report, Chicago Tribune and Lifescript.