Posted:January 08, 2014

Choosing Wisely® campaign has identified over 220 tests and procedures that may not be necessary, could cause harm.

PHILADELPHIA – As part of the Choosing Wisely campaign, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation, more than a dozen leading medical specialty societies will release new lists of specific tests or procedures in early 2014 that they say are commonly ordered but not always necessary and could cause harm. To date, 60 societies and 16 consumer groups have joined the Choosing Wisely effort.

The new lists continue the Choosing Wisely campaign, which launched in April 2012 and convened national physician groups to develop evidence-based lists of five tests and procedures that may be overused in their field. These new lists add to the growing library of more than 220 tests and procedures that have been identified as potentially harmful and therefore may require further discussion between patients and physicians.

“The Choosing Wisely campaign calls on physicians to be the very best doctors they can be for their patients. While we’ve made progress in starting conversations aimed at avoiding overused tests and procedures, the release of new lists of things physicians and patients should talk about demonstrates there is still much work to be done,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, president and CEO of the ABIM Foundation. “The specialty societies partnering in Choosing Wisely have shown tremendous leadership by answering this professional call to action and working to ensure these critical conversations are happening in doctors’ offices, communities, hospitals and health systems across the country.”

The goal of the Choosing Wisely campaign is to spark conversations between patients and physicians about what care is truly necessary for specific conditions. Each of the lists is developed by the individual specialty societies, using the most current evidence about management and treatment options.

The societies continuing to release lists in early 2014 and the date of their release include:

  • January 11 - American Association of Critical-Care Nurses/American College of Chest Physicians/American Thoracic Society/Society of Critical Care Medicine (Critical Care)
  • January 16 - Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
  • January 21 - American Society of Anesthesiologists* (Pain)
  • February 3 - Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
  • February 10 - Heart Rhythm Society
  • February 24 - American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • February 27 - American Geriatrics Society*
  • February 28 - American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology*
  • March 11 - American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • TBD - American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • TBD - American Association of Blood Banks
  • TBD - American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
  • TBD - American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
  • TBD - American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
  • TBD - American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • TBD - Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions

* Releasing a second list

The ABIM Foundation is also working to advance the Choosing Wisely campaign through a number of other activities, including a new series of education modules – developed by Drexel University College of Medicine and nine medical specialty societies – to help physicians engage their patients in conversations about tests and procedures to question. Additionally, work continues by grantees in 21 projects being conducted by state medical societies, specialty societies and regional health collaboratives. The grant program, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, seeks to help educate practicing physicians and build physician communication skills to have conversations with patients about the care they need.

Consumer Reports is working with the ABIM Foundation and Choosing Wisely partners to publish easy-to-understand resources for patients to understand the recommendations. With more than 50 patient-friendly pieces completed, the materials help explain the scientific basis for decisions, describe patient options and articulate the risks and benefits of respective tests, treatments and procedures so that patients can engage in an informed conversation with their physician.

For more information about Choosing Wisely, including a full list of partners and their lists, visit www.ChoosingWisely.org.

John Held - (215) 446-3572
jheld@abim.org