I won’t lie; I hear the tagline “Choose wisely,” and I think immediately of an ad campaign for Beck’s beer. However, thanks to The American Board of Internal Medicine, Consumer Reports magazine and 17 medical professional societies, I (and hopefully millions of other Americans) will associate “Choosing wisely” with something far more positive.
Recently, the groups banded together to launch “Choosing Wisely,” a public awareness campaign to reduce unnecessary medical tests and treatments.
According to some estimates unneeded treatments, such as EKGs for patients who are asymptomatic of heart disease, account for up to one-third of all U.S. medical spending.
Generally, “Choosing Wisely” aims to promote conversations between physicians and patients by helping patients choose care that is:
- Supported by evidence.
- Not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received.
- Free from harm.
- Truly necessary.
Specifically, among other measures, the campaign asks specialists to avoid EKGs in asymptomatic patients, not perform radiology tests like MRIs for simple headaches or back pain and to prescribe the lowest possible doses of medication to control gastroenterological issues.
To bring patients into the effort as well, the program’s leaders also created a series of condition-specific lists of medical tests patients (and their doctors) should question.
What do you think? Can “Choosing Wisely” make a difference in bringing down the incidence and costs associated with unnecessary medical treatments? What efforts have you made at your company or within your community to achieve the same results? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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