Better health through more tests? Probably not

It is hardly surprising then that modern investigations have been warmly embraced and have contributed to improvements in health.

But like all tools that can serve us, they can also do harm. Fire can cook our food but burn down our house if out of control.

The explosion of testing has led to the growing problem of overdiagnosis. The Dartmouth Institute and the BMJ have run an annual conference on this topic since 2012. That same year the Choosing Wisely initiative launched in the US, where a growing number of colleges and medical groups advise which tests are not helpful in what circumstances.

Last year we followed suit when the college of pathologists put out a list of 10 tests, which are ordered inappropriately or should not be ordered at all — because they do not help in diagnosis or management.

It is important to note that no doctor was stopped from ordering any test.

But given the