The Choosing Wisely campaign is steadily gaining traction in New Zealand.
Introduced in 2016, Choosing Wisely encourages health professionals to talk with patients about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures; and patients to discuss with their health professional whether they really need a particular intervention. The campaign is run by the Council of Medical Colleges, and the Health Quality & Safety Commission is a partner.
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Tests, treatments and procedures have side-effects and some may even cause harm. For example, CT scans and x-rays expose people to radiation; overuse of antibiotics leads to them becoming less effective; a false positive test may lead to painful and stressful further investigation.
Choosing Wisely encourages patients to ask their health professional four questions:
- Do I really need this test or procedure?
- What are the risks?
- Are there simpler, safer options?
- What happens if I don’t do anything?
Procedures to watch out for
Some of the procedures and treatments patients and clinicians might want to discuss further include:
- x-rays for back pain
- CT scans in patients with head injuries
- antibiotic treatment for skin rashes
- antibiotics for viral infections.
While these may be very appropriate for the patient’s particular condition, they are also areas in which unnecessary intervention can be an issue. As each situation is unique, health care professionals and patients should have a conversation to work out an appropriate health care plan together.
To learn more about Choosing Wisely, see the campaign website.