Direct-to-consumer screening tests are a cause for concern for physicians, who say that they can increase healthcare costs and harm patients who undergo unnecessary follow-up tests and treatment.
Drs. Erik Wallace and John Schumann, physicians affiliated with the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine's department of internal medicine, and Dr. Steven Weinberger, executive vice president and CEO of the American College of Physicians, published an opinion piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine questioning the benefits of and need for direct-to-consumer screening.
They said medical organizations and physicians should no longer work with local entities such as churches or fitness centers to promote direct-to-consumer screening programs.
Some providers serve as advertising sponsors for community-based testing locations.
"Anyone can purchase these tests—regardless of age or risk factors for disease or whether testing is truly indicated—if they are willing to pay the advertised fee," the authors wrote. "When screenings are provided in a church and sponsored by a trusted medical organization, consumers may have a false sense of trust in the quality and appropriateness of services provided."