CT Center for Patient Safety
CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
March 2013
In This Issue
Less is More
RxISK - the Drug Safety Website
Two Important Books
Other Excellent Resources

Less is More

A group of medical societies have identified 90 procedures that are commonly ordered but are not always necessary and sometimes could prove harmful.   The guidelines draw on research about what kind of screening and treatment actually makes people better.  More treatment isn't always better.  Tests can produce false positives that cause distress and lead to more costly invasive procedures.  Too many CT scans can increase cancer risks, especially in children.


Docs often get paid for ordering tests and patients, through consumer marketing, have been been influenced to believe that more and newer is better.


Visit the Choosing Wisely website to learn more, so that you can safely do less! 


 Think again!


  • Do not perform routine annual Pap tests in women 30 - 65 years of age.  Routine annual tests offer no advantage over screenings performed at three year intervals.
  • Don't automatically use CT scans to evaluate children's minor head injuries.  Approximately 50% of children who visit hospital emergency departments with head injuries are given a CT scan.  CT scanning is associated with radiation exposure that may escalate future cancer risk.  Clinical observation should be the first step before ordering a CT Scan.
  • At Choosing Wisely, there are 88 other tests and treatments to question.


This initiative, piloted by the National Physicians Alliance is exciting and patient, not payment centered.  Visit their website and learn more.

Quick Links

Dear Members,
It is worse than I thought and we are not alone.  I just returned from a two day meeting in Washington DC.  Selling Sickness:  People Before Profits.  The event brought together academics, investigative journalists and advocates - just like us.  Kim Witzack's husband Woody committed suicide ten years ago this month.  Woody had been inappropriately prescribed an antipsychotic and died.  Kim started a group - Woody Matters - and has worked nationally and internationally trying to drive accountability and transparency in the pharmaceutical industry.
There was renewed commitment to work together on the national and state levels.  We are up against an industry that has now outpaced the military industrial complex in committing and being fined for both civil and criminal offenses.  But now, with this meeting, we have the ingredients we need: brains, passion and the talents of investigative journalists.  We are off to a good start.
In this newsletter, I will be suggesting websites and resources we can all use to improve health outcomes.  Take advantage of the depth of knowledge and the determination to counter marketing and deep political pockets, so that you don't fall victim to the many scare tactics and the promise of miracles. 
RxISK - the Drug Safety Website

David Healy has taken matters into his own hands.  Highly controversial but effective, David is creating a data base - the kind the consumer needs - about those drugs we are prescribed.
RxISK is the drug safety website to research and report side effects.  No one knows a drug's side effects like the person taking it. Use this website to inform yourself on the drugs you are being prescribed.
Take the next step and visit the website where you can... 
  • Receive your free RxISK Report to take to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Create a report to send to your country's drug regulator.
  • Help others by contributing to the RxISK database.

Two Important Books:


Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients by Ben Goldacre


 Medicare Meltdown: How Wall Street and Washington are Ruining Medicare and How to Fix It  by Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh



Other Excellent Resources:


Shared decision making



Gary Schwitzer leads a team of twelve researchers who grade health news reporting.  



Marshall Allen, ProPublica reporter



and for evidence based practices



The recession seems to be unrelenting and funding is challenging.  We have to better figure out how to reach people and patients.  Sadly, so many do not reach out to us until they have suffered harm. We want to expand our important outreach program to nursing students and we want to be able to keep our seats at many tables. Visit our website to view our Annual Report.



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