(HealthDay News) — Physicians and health care providers must be aware of their potential liability when ordering screening tests, according to an article published July 24 in Medical Economics.

Lack of communication is one of the primary barriers to provision of preventive care such as screening. The benefits and potential harms of screening should be communicated by the ordering physician or health care provider. Informational brochures and technological aids can be used to assist with dissemination of information.

According to Medical Economics, considerable variation has been identified in the approaches employed by physicians regarding the nature and extent of discussions with patients concerning the benefits and harms associated with screening, particularly with the prostate-specific antigen test. Some physicians reported some level of discussion with the patient, while others ordered the test based on recommended age ranges, without discussing it with patients.

“It is imperative that physicians discuss the pros and cons of screening tests and procedures with patients, and document the discussions in their medical records,” according to the article. “Additionally, it is highly recommended that technological aids are used to ensure that the patient is able to make an informed decision of whether to proceed with the test.”

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