The use of unnecessary tests and treatments contributes to health care waste. The “Choosing Wisely” campaign charges medical societies with identifying such items. This report describes the identification of 5 tests and treatments in newborn medicine.


A national survey identified candidate tests and treatments. An expert panel of 51 individuals representing 28 perinatal care organizations narrowed the list over 3 rounds of a modified Delphi process. In the final round, the panel was provided with Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) literature summaries of the top 12 tests and treatments.


A total of 1648 candidate tests and 1222 treatments were suggested by 1047 survey respondents. After 3 Delphi rounds, the expert panel achieved consensus on the following top 5 items: (1) avoid routine use of antireflux medications for treatment of symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease or for treatment of apnea and desaturation in preterm infants, (2) avoid routine continuation of antibiotic therapy beyond 48 hours for initially asymptomatic infants without evidence of bacterial infection, (3) avoid routine use of pneumograms for predischarge assessment of ongoing and/or prolonged apnea of prematurity, (4) avoid routine daily chest radiographs without an indication for intubated infants, and (5) avoid routine screening term-equivalent or discharge brain MRIs in preterm infants.


The Choosing Wisely Top Five for newborn medicine highlights tests and treatments that cannot be adequately justified on the basis of efficacy, safety, or cost. This list serves as a starting point for quality improvement efforts to optimize both clinical outcomes and resource utilization in newborn care.

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