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Invited Commentary
March 2014

Preoperative Consultation Before Cataract SurgeryAre We Choosing Wisely or Is This Simply Low-Value Care?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Leonard Davis Institute, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):389-390. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.12298

A major focus in fixing the health care crisis has been a shift from volume-based to value-based care.1 One approach to improving the value equation is the elimination of unnecessary or wasteful tests and procedures. This forms part of the basis of the Choosing Wisely campaign from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation.2 A major theme within the Choosing Wisely campaign has been the elimination of routine preoperative evaluation in low-risk patients. Given that 30 million Americans undergo surgery annually and approximately 60% of them undergo a procedure on an ambulatory basis, the elimination of extensive preoperative tests and consultations represents an area of potentially large health care savings. In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Thilen and colleagues3 demonstrate not only that this is not occurring but that the incidence of preoperative consultations is actually increasing in the Medicare population for patients undergoing cataract surgery.

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