Posted: July 13, 2018 | Category: News

Lehigh Valley Physician Hospital Organization, Inc. (LVPHO) has released its second video series on produced to help patients be advocates for their own health care. The latest videos cover five important questions that should be asked when seeing a physician for back pain. These questions are important to help spur discussion between doctor and patient that ultimately prevents any unnecessary medical tests and procedures that contribute to wasteful spending in the health care system.

The videos feature Gary Tarola, DC, Chief, LVPG Chiropractic Medicine, and Chirag Kalola, MD, Physical Medicine – Rehabilitation, both Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) providers practicing in Allentown, Pa.

The doctors point out that back pain is a leading cause for physician office visits in the United States, and that only a small percentage of those visits might warrant an MRI. “Most back pain has a mechanical cause, meaning a strain or injury related to the muscles, joints, or discs,” says Dr. Tarola. “For these kinds of conditions, MRIs are usually not helpful.” It is estimated that one-third to one-half of MRIs conducted in the United States are unnecessary, adding billions to an already costly health care system.

Recommendations incorporated in the videos include both evidence-based medicine and the principles of Choosing Wisely®. The latter is a national initiative designed to raise awareness and encourage conversation between providers and patients about what tests, treatments, and medications are truly appropriate for each situation.

For employers, sharing and Choosing Wisely initiatives with their workforce can help empower their employees to be more informed health care consumers. The ultimate goal is to ensure that patients receive the right care at the right time and place, thus reducing wasteful health care spending.

The first videos in the Ask-Five series, with Timothy Friel, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine at LVHN, offer five questions patients can ask to develop an understanding of when antibiotics are an appropriate treatment choice for illness. In this case, having this conversation is part of the worldwide effort to reduce antibiotic overuse and the danger of antibiotic ineffectiveness.

For more information about Valley Preferred, read the latest Progress Update. Visit our website for more information on Choosing Wisely.