Choosing Wisely Infectious Diseases

Respiratory viral panels

Just because you can test for dozens of viruses with a single swab should you? Is this actually measuring a current infection, or a recent virus from which the child has since recovered. And what about the cost? Are these tests expensive (spoiler alert: They are!). Learn about the situations when we should get these panels, and how we can avoid overusing them when we shouldn’t in this tremendous discussion with Dr. Olivia Ostrow and Dr. Kelly Levasseur.

This podcast episode is designed to disseminate the important work of Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, the goal of which is the spark conversations between clinicians and patients about what tests, treatments, and procedures are needed – and which ones are not.

The Choosing Wisely recommendation: Do not obtain comprehensive viral panel testing for patients who have suspected respiratory viral illnesses

The Choosing Wisely Pediatric Emergency Medicine Recommendations

The Choosing Wisely Campaign Toolkit

Bonus Resource: The Dialogue Around Respiratory Illness Treatment (DART) program which is designed to support antibiotic stewardship


@PEMTweets on… sigh “X” (Twitter)

My Instagram

My Mastodon account @bradsobo


  1. Gill, PJ, Richardson, SE, Ostrow O. Testing for respiratory viruses in children: to swab or not to swab. JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(8):798-804
  1. Noël KC, Fontela PS, Winters N, et al. The clinical utility of respiratory viral testing in hospitalized children: a meta-analysis. Hosp Pediatr. 2019;9(7):483-494
  1. Parikh K, Hall M, Mittal V, et al. Establishing benchmarks for the hospitalized care of children with asthma, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia. Pediatrics. 2014;134(3):555-562
  1. Innis K, Hasson D, Bodilly L, et al. Do I need proof of the culprit? Decreasing respiratory viral testing in critically ill patients. Hosp Pediatr. 2021;11(1):e1-e5

By bradsobo

Brad Sobolewski, MD, MEd is a Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and an Associate Director for the Pediatric Residency Training Program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He is on Twitter @PEMTweets and authors the Pediatric Emergency Medicine site PEMBlog and produces and hosts the PEM Currents: The Pediatric Emergency Medicine Podcast.

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