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Choosing Wisely: An Initiative to Improve the Quality and Safety of Health Care

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Choosing Wisely® : An Initiative of the ABIM Foundation

AARP Maine is pleased to have a seat at the planning table, representing the best interests of Mainers over the age of 50, the cohort that is the biggest consumer of healthcare services in the oldest-profile state in the country.  Choosing Wisely – Maine has developed a specific list of the half-dozen tests and procedures most over-used, redundant and sometimes dangerous, specifically in Maine.  Working closely with Maine Quality Counts, the Maine Medical Association, ABIM and Consumers’ Reports, AARP will help explain the details of both the problems that have been identified by the coalition, along with those measure we all can take, along with our healthcare providers, to ensure better healthcare outcomes, more efficient delivery and lower costs.

The Issue:  As the nation increasingly focuses on ways to provide safer, higher-quality care to patients, the overuse of health care resources is an issue of considerable concern. Many experts agree that the current way health care is delivered in the U.S. contains too much waste—with some stating that as much as 30 percent of care delivered is duplicative or unnecessary and may not improve people’s health. It is urgent that physicians and patients work together and have conversations about wise treatment decisions.

That means choosing care that is supported by evidence showing that it works for patients like them;  is not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received; won’t harm them; and is truly necessary.

The Campaign:  Choosing Wisely® is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to help physicians and patients engage in conversations about the overuse of tests and procedures and support physician efforts to help patients make smart and effective care choices. Recognizing the importance of physicians and patients working together, leading specialty societies, along with Consumer Reports, have joined Choosing Wisely to help improve the quality and safety of health care in America.

As part of Choosing Wisely, each participating specialty society has created lists of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” that provide specific, evidence-based recommendations physicians and patients should discuss to help make wise decisions about the most appropriate care based on their individual situation. The resulting lists will stimulate discussion about the need—or lack thereof—for many frequently ordered tests or treatments. Participating specialty societies and the ABIM Foundation are using these lists to support physicians in making wise choices and will develop tools to help them have these kinds of conversations with patients.

Consumer Reports, the nation’s leading independent, non-profit consumer organization, has also joined the campaign to provide resources for consumers and physicians to engage in these important conversations. They are coordinating consumer oriented organizations to help disseminate information and educate patients on making wise decisions.

Continuing the Professionalism Challenge:  Choosing Wisely is part of a multi-year effort of the ABIM Foundation to help physicians be better stewards of finite health care resources.  It continues the principles and commitments of promoting justice in the health care system through a fair distribution of resources set forth in Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter.

Learn more about Choosing Wisely at

Click here for other resources, a media kit, and more.

Read a recent article about Choosing Wisely in Maine Medical Association News by  Lisa M. Letourneau, M.D., MPH, Executive Director, Quality Counts

" First Do No Harm" published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association

Published Online: July 8, 2013.


Logo courtesy of Choosing Wisely

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