Nearly three out of four U.S. physicians say the frequency with which doctors order unnecessary medical tests and procedures is a serious problem, but just as many say that the average physician orders unnecessary services at least once a week, according to research released by the ABIM Foundation.

The survey explored physician attitudes regarding the overuse of services, and shows that more than half of physicians think they are in the best position to address the problem and are responsible for making sure patients avoid unnecessary care. Yet, at the same time, more than half of the doctors surveyed say they'd give an insistent patient a test they knew to be unnecessary.

The survey comes two years after the launch of the Choosing Wisely campaign to encourage physicians and patients to think and talk about whether certain services are truly necessary for their conditions. One in five physicians surveyed say they are aware of the campaign and of those, 62 percent say they are more likely to have reduced the number of times they recommended a service because they learned it was unnecessary. Additionally, 47 percent of physicians say their patients ask for an unneeded test or procedure at least once a week, and 70 percent say that after they speak with a patient about why a service is not needed, the patient often avoids it.

For more, visit www.choosingwisely.org. To learn about the American Hospital Association's efforts in this area, read "Is It Worth The Risk?" in the April issue of Trustee.