Choosing Wisely

A new campaign is hoping to curb unnecessary testing and treatments that drive up costs and increases risk to patients.  Choosing Wisely encourages physicians and patients to do just that…choose wisely.  Each medical organization is choosing five tests or treatments that are commonly ordered but are unnecessary…or even harmful.  The American Academy of Family Physicians has been very involved in the process, partly because Family Medicine has such a broad scope.  (We are also the only organization with two lists…it just didn’t all fit in one.)

During my training, one ongoing theme was to not order a test if it wouldn’t change your care or if it wasn’t indicated.  Seems obvious…but there are many tests out there that are done routinely for no good reason.  It can be hard (as a patient or doctor) to simply say, “We don’t know and we aren’t going to try to find out.”  Not using antibiotics for viruses can be hard for people who are miserable.

I have read through all the lists currently available (over a dozen more are in the works) and feel that they are a valuable read for everyone, whether a physician or a healthcare consumer (aka patient).  You can skip the small print and just read the bold/colored points and use the small print for details on the topics that interest you.  If you have any questions about any of the lists, please ask!

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