What is Choosing Wisely?

Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation that promotes patient-physician conversations about unnecessary medical tests and procedures.

It was introduced by The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) which represents 220,000 doctors in the UK, and hopes to inform providers and patients by the evidence-based recommendations of “Things Providers and Patients Should Question.”

The campaign ‘Choosing Wisely’ which launches in the UK on the 24th of October was developed in the US and Canada asks medical organisations to identify tests or procedures commonly used in their specialty, while the requirement should be questioned and discussed.

The Royal Colleges hope the new campaign will call on each medical specialty to come up with a list of common practices which should be stopped altogether because they do more harm than good. They claim an “epidemic of misinformation” has led to patients receiving unnecessary tests and prescriptions – and being diagnosed and treated for conditions that will never cause them harm.

The initiative has also been adopted in a number of other countries, including Wales, Switzerland, Japan, Australia and the Netherlands.

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Call to action and next steps

To ensure the development of a Choosing Wisely culture in clinical practice, the academy suggests:

  • Doctors should provide patients with resources that increase their understanding about potential harms of interventions and help them accept that doing nothing can often be the best approach
  • Patients should be encouraged to ask questions such as, “Do I really need this test or procedure? What are the risks? Are there simpler safer options? What happens if I do nothing?”
  • Medical schools should ensure that students develop a good understanding of risk alongside critical evaluation of the literature and transparent communication. Students should be taught about the overuse of tests and interventions. Organizations responsible for postgraduate and continuing medical education should ensure that practicing doctors receive the same education
  • Commissioners should consider a different payment incentive for doctors and hospitals

Visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ChoosingWiselyUK
Visit our Twitter page: https://twitter.com/ChoosingWiselyU

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