Choose Urology Tests Wisely
Guidelines on what’s needed and what’s not
It is never easy for parents to watch their child undergo medical tests. But how can they know for certain whether these procedures are always necessary? It is often hard to question a doctor’s recommendation, but the pediatric urology program at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida helps ease the mind (and wallet) of concerned parents by following strict guidelines to minimize needless tests.
“The program’s approach tries to avoid routinely ordered, but often unneeded, tests and treatments,” says Dr. Abd-el-rahman Abd-el-barr, a pediatric urologist with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. “This way, we can protect children from the anxiety of medical procedures and not overburden families with out-of-pocket medical costs and the constant struggle of managing multiple appointments.”
Specifically, the urology program follows the Choose Wisely initiative from the American Urologic Association. Here are some examples of how they follow these guidelines while continuing to offer top-notch care.
• Not performing a routine ultrasound on boys with undescended testicles. Boys with undescended testes should have a thorough exam by a pediatric urologist, rather than an ultrasound, says Dr. Abd-el-rahman Abd-el-barr.
• Not using urinalysis as a screening tool for children with no urinary symptoms. If children have symptoms of UTI such as fever, urine smell, or pain with using the bathroom, then a urinalysis is useful in these children.
• Not routinely using a CT scan to test kids with suspected kidney stones. Instead, ultrasounds are used, which cost less and are easier on the patient. “If a CT does need to be performed, we follow a low radiation dose protocol that reduces exposure and helps avoid possible side effects,” says Dr. Abd-el-rahman Abd-el-barr.