Vitamin D Testing Update - May 2017

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Vitamin D Testing Update - May 2017

25-May-2017

On October 3, 2016, I wrote to primary care physicians seeking to improve the appropriateness of ordering Vitamin D blood levels. I provided advice and information. The results for the year-to-date are now available and will be provided to the individual practitioners.

Considerable variation remains with many physicians ordering few tests and a few physicians ordering many tests.  It's important to note those who have sustained good practice, those who have improved practice, and those who have failed to improve.

Physicians are reminded of the medical indication for testing and that they need to inform their patients that if other clinical practitioners requesting Vitamin D levels that patients are obliged to seek those tests privately.

I am very concerned about those who have failed to improve their practice and will ask that the necessary actions be taken to ensure appropriate requests.

Submitted by:  Dr. David McCutcheon, Vice President, Physician & Integrated Health Services

Why Are So Many People Popping Vitamin D?

There was no reason for the patients to receivevitamin D tests. They did not have osteoporosis; their bones were not cracking from a lack of the vitamin. They did not have diseases that interfere with vitamin D absorption.

Yet in a recent sample of 800,000 patients in Maine, nearly one in five had had at least one test for blood levels of the vitamin over a three-year period. More than a third got two or more tests, often to evaluate such ill-defined complaints as malaise or fatigue.

Read more in the NY Times.