HPCI News: Choosing Wisely - Promoting conversations between providers and patients

To: Members and Selected Others

Choosing Wisely seeks to advance a dialogue on avoiding wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures. It does so by helping patients choose care that is:

  • Supported by evidence
  • Not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received
  • Free from harm
  • Truly necessary

This national initiative is a partnership between the ABIM Foundation and Consumers Reports. Choosing Wisely works with partners from medical specialty societies and organizations representation other members of the clinical care team. There are also consumer organization partners. HPCI is one of about 50 such partners.

A 2014 national survey found the following:

  • 73% of physicians say the frequency of unnecessary tests and procedures is a very or somewhat serious problem
  • 53% of physicians say that even if they know a medical test is unnecessary, they will order it if a patient insists
  • 58% of physicians say they are in the best position to address the problem, with the government as a distant second at 15%
  • In response to this challenge, national organizations representation medical specialists asked their providers to “choose wisely” by identifying tests or procedures commonly used in their field whose necessity should be questioned and discussed. The resulting lists of “Things Providers and Patients Should Question” are intended to spark discussion about the need – or lack thereof – for many frequently ordered tests or treatments. So far 75 specialty provider groups have published 490 recommendations.

To help patients engage their health care provider in these conversations and empower them to ask questions about what tests and procedures are right for them, the Choosing Wisely Campaign has developed patient-friendly materials on the specialty societies list of recommendations. These materials are disseminated through the campaign’s consumer partners. For providers, a suite of communication education modules was created to help them engage in conversations with their patients. Choosing Wisely is also currently working with 14 health care systems.

To assist employers and other purchasers and consumer groups, Choosing Wisely has developed a implementation guide along with a lot of useful tools and resources. Some 200,000 “Five Questions to Ask” wallet cards have been distributed and 40+ webinars held.

We should do more to take advantage of this resource. For more information, visit their website at http://www.choosingwisely.org or contact the HPCI office.


Paul M. Pietzsch, MPH
HPCI - IHBA Office
4430 Ashley Park Drive
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
(515) 778-6300

back to the top