Quotation in “Supplement vitamin D rather than test”


I was quoted in an article in MJA InSight, written by Cate Swannell, about my comments on a new short report published in the MJA (Vitamin D testing: new targeted guidelines stem the overtesting tide).

Dr Michael Tam, a staff specialist in general practice and a conjoint senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales, told MJA InSight that he did not believe the new Medicare item numbers and guidelines were the cause of the downturn in testing and expenditure.

“It’s great to see that the cost (and volume) of vitamin D testing is coming down,” Dr Tam said. “It is increasingly recognised by most doctors that there is little utility in vitamin D testing in the majority of the population.

“[But, this report] under-recognises some of the major efforts promoting evidence-based pathology ordering in general practice, such as the Choosing Wisely campaign, from NPS MedicineWise.

“I see the targeted guidelines as being part of the clinical cultural environment that led to a change in beliefs and attitudes towards vitamin D testing. Undoubtedly, it is a very important thing. However, it must be understood within the context of the limits of its influence.

“There is still a long way to go in reducing vitamin D testing to the level that would be supported by evidence-based practice, and this most likely will require more than guidelines.”