Support Campaign Promoting Effective Use of Health Care Resources

Target: National Physicians Alliance

Goal: Commend the Choose Wisely campaign that promotes discussions between patient and physician to eliminate harmful or unnecessary tests and procedures

Choosing Wisely, a program devised by the National Physicians Alliance, is promoting its updated list of medical tests and procedures typically performed on patients that are not necessarily needed. The initiative’s approach urges doctors and medical practitioners to reduce their use of 90 widely used tests and treatments that may cause more harm to the patient than their beneficial intent. Support the Choose Wisely campaign promoting communication between patients and physicians to eliminate harmful or unnecessary medical procedures.

The idea of the Choose Wisely initiative was first conceived by the National Physicians Alliance in partnership with Consumer Reports. National organizations, comprised of medical specialists, have been posed with the challenging task of “choosing wisely” by recognizing five procedures or tests that are commonly used in their specialty. This will then incite a discussion on the overall necessity, or lack thereof, of each procedure considered.

The executive vice president of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, Daniel Wolfson, explains that certain types of tests that are normally routine can, in fact, be wasteful and potentially put the patient at risk without producing any benefits. For example, the society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging insisted that physicians should not use a nuclear heart scan after coronary artery surgery when performing an annual stress test. This routine test exposes the patient  to high doses of radiation, equivalent to about 2,000 chest X-rays.

Topping the list among geriatricians is the use of feeding tubes for people suffering from advanced dementia. Both the American Geriatrics Society and American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine agreed that feeding tubes intensify existing bedsores and can increase stress levels if the patient becomes restrained due to maneuvering the feeding tube out of their throat. The list of geriatric recommendations also includes refraining from the routine prescribing of antipsychotic medications, stating that these drugs have been linked to an elevated risk of stroke and cardiovascular death in elderly patients.

Commend the Choose Wisely initiative for identifying and eradicating routine tests and procedures that can be problematic for patients.


Dear National Physicians Alliance,

Many routine tests and procedures that are performed on patients are now being questioned and reconsidered based on their overall benefit or potential detriment to the patient’s health. With the development of the Choose Wisely campaign, doctors and patients are encouraged to discuss care that is free from harm and supported by evidence, and insist on only performing tests and procedures that are truly necessary.

Among many other physicians, geriatricians have composed a list of their own that warns against using procedures on elderly patients that can actually cause more harm than good. Elderly patients suffering from dementia are particularly vulnerable, highlighting certain routine tests that should be avoided. I commend the Choose Wisely campaign and support further review of procedures that may be considered damaging to the health of the patient.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Adrian Clark via Flickr

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