Hayes applauds the Choosing Wisely national initiative, and the nine physician specialty organizations that are part of this effort to identify unnecessary medical tests and procedures and promote evidence-based care. Released on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, the lists of unnecessary or overused tests in each of the nine specialties are powerful tools to begin the dialogue between doctor and patient. You can access the lists here.
If you recall, at the end of December, we reported on a similar initiative, Promoting Good Stewardship in Clinical Practice. Spearheaded by the National Physicians Alliance, this project identified unnecessary or harmful treatments in family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. The more recent Choosing Wisely campaign is an outgrowth of that original concept.
Creating and making public lists of tests and procedures that doctors and patients should question is an excellent first step in reigning in the out-of-control healthcare costs in the United States. The next step is for providers to incorporate evidence into their patient-care decisions so that patients receive the best and most appropriate care. Educating patients about why certain tests and treatments are unnecessary is also an essential part of the process.