Open Access Articles- Top Results for Choosing Wisely

Choosing Wisely

File:Choosing Wisely logo.png
Logo for the campaign

Choosing Wisely is a United States-based health educational campaign, led by the ABIM Foundation. It seeks to improve doctor–patient relationships and promote patient-centered care by informing patients and physicians about overutilization of medical resources.[1]

The campaign addresses the problem of patients receiving unnecessary health treatment, reasoning that this results in poor outcomes for the patient and could create significant waste in the United States healthcare system. To conduct the campaign, a coordinator from ABIM Foundation asks medical specialty professional organizations to make five recommendations for preventing overuse of a treatment in their field. Distributors then share this information with community groups nationwide, and the medical specialty societies disseminate it to their members. The intent is that patients and doctors will discuss the recommendations in these lists, believing that if patients and doctors communicate with each other more effectively when making health decisions patients will have better outcomes and the medical system itself will benefit.

The campaign follows a history of proposals for both increasing doctor-patient communication and reducing waste in health care. Most commentators confirm the existence of avoidable waste in the health care system. Proponents[2][3][4][5] of the campaign say that it is a uniquely broad and much-needed effort.


The Choosing Wisely campaign presents the following background and narrative to explain its motivation: The cost of health care in the United States is not affordable for many people or the nation.[6] According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States spends more than 20 times what comparable countries spend per person on healthcare.[7] Some analysts have proposed that identifying and eliminating waste in health care would result in significant savings for the health care system and reduced costs for employers.[8] A 2005 study by the National Academy of Sciences argued that 30% of the health care spending in the United States was wasteful and subsequent research has supported this finding.[9][10] Some reports indicate that countries comparable to the United States are able to provide better health care to more people while consuming fewer medical resources.[11] Reducing the cost of health care would make it accessible to more people.[12]

One of the identified causes of the waste in the health care system is a lack of communication between doctors and patients. The decisions of physicians account for most of a patient's expenses, yet physicians work under various pressures including limited time to talk with patients and review their information.[13][14] Patients sometimes make requests for treatment against their doctor's advice in cases where more effective choices would be made if doctors had time to consult expert medical opinion.[15]


In 2002 the ABIM Foundation published Medical professionalism in the new millennium: a Physician Charter.[1][16] The charter states that physicians have a responsibility to promote health equity when some health resources are scarce.[1] As a practical way of achieving distributive justice, in 2010 physician Howard Brody recommended that medical specialty societies, being stewards of a field, ought to publish a list of five things which they would like changed in their field and publicize it to their members.[1][17][18] In 2011, the National Physicians Alliance tested a project in which it organized the creation of some "top 5 lists".[1][19][20] Analysis of the National Physician's Alliance project predicted that the health field could save more than US$5 billion by cutting waste.[1][19][21]

Continuing this project, Choosing Wisely was created to organise the creation of more "lists of five" and their distribution to more physicians and patients.[1][22] Physicians participate by joining their specialty society in identifying practices which their field may overuse, and engaging their patients in conversations aimed at reducing unnecessary care, and hence reduce healthcare costs.[1] Each recommendation in the program must have the support of clinical guidelines, evidence, or expert opinion.[1]


To participate in Choosing Wisely, each society developed list of five tests, treatments, or services which that specialty commonly overuses.[1] The society shares this information with their members, as well as organizations who can publicize to local community groups, and in each community patients and doctors can consider the information as they like.[1] As of February 2013, there were 135 recommendations targeting a range of procedures to either question or to avoid without special consideration.[23]


Some examples of the information shared in Choosing Wisely include the following:

  • Acknowledge that physicians are increasing their use of diagnostic procedures without a proportional increase in patient outcomes. Consider the effects of overuse of diagnostic services.[24]
  • Physicians overuse radiography services. In many cases this fails to improve patient outcomes. This also subjects patients to unnecessary ionizing radiation and the possibility of further unnecessary testing.[25]
  • Before the 39th week of pregnancy, doctors should not perform a Caesarean section or induce labor unless medically necessary.[26]


The Choosing Wisely campaign identifies the following difficulties in achieving its goals:

  • In communicating with patients a major challenge in the campaign is the problem inherent in patient-centered care of giving patients some basis for understanding how to make decisions about their health care.[27] Many recommendations in the campaign require clinical education to understand fully.[27] Also many patients tend to follow the recommendations of their physicians without question, even if they have questions.[27]
  • The United States medical system is designed so that most doctors get paid when they provide treatment and not paid when they do not recommend treatment.[27] This system creates a pattern for doctors to recommend more treatment.[27]
  • Critics tend to view efforts to reduce medical services as "healthcare rationing in the United States".[27] Since doctors do not want to be seen as withholding care, they are hesitant to change established behavior in any way that lessens the amount of treatment they order.[27][28][29] Doctors say that they often feel pressure to engage in defensive medicine by conducting extra testing to avoid lawsuits.[30]


Many of the leading medical societies in the United States are participating in the campaign as partners and in that way have demonstrated their support.

The New York Times said that the campaign was likely to "alter treatment standards in hospitals and doctors' offices nationwide" and one of their opinion writers found that many tests were unnecessary.[2][3] CBS News said that "the evidence is on the initiative's side."[4] USA Today noted that the campaign was "a rare coordinated effort among multiple medical societies".[5] A Vogue reviewer said that Choosing Wisely was a counter to defensive medicine practices by doctors and a counter to patients who demand extra procedures without understanding the risks involved.[31] In February 2013 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided USD $2.5 million in funding for the campaign, saying that the foundation wanted to "help increase the tangible impact of the Choosing Wisely campaign".[32]

However, Robert Goldbert, for The American Spectator, criticized the program saying that it was "designed to sustain the rationale and ideology that shaped Obamacare" (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), that the lists were "redundant and highly subjective", and that participants in the effort would greedily benefit at the expense of others if the campaign succeeded.[33] A related critique is that considering cost as a basis for making health care decisions is not ideal.[34]

While expressing the need for evidence-based healthcare recommendations, The Economist found the Choosing Wisely recommendations to be weak because they are not enforceable.[35] In an editorial published in the Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Richard Robbin and Allen Thomas express concern that the campaign could be used by payers to limit options for doctors and patients. However, they declare the Choosing Wisely recommendations a "welcome start."[36]

Critics in the Southwest Journal of Pulmonary & Critical Care said, "the present Choosing Wisely campaign has fundamental flaws—not because it is medically wrong but because it attempts to replace choice and good judgment with a rigid set of rules that undoubtedly will have many exceptions. Based on what we have seen so far, we suspect that Choosing Wisely is much more about saving money than improving patient care. We also predict it will be used by the unknowing or unscrupulous to further interfere with the doctor-patient relationship."[37]


The Choosing Wisely campaign makes no provision to scientifically research its own efficacy, but academic centers are making plans to independently report on the impact of the campaign.[38] The campaign has been cited as being part of a broader movement including many comparable campaigns.[39] The German Network for Evidence Based Medicine considered adapting concepts from the program into the German healthcare system.[40] In April 2014, Choosing Wisely Canada launched. [41] Choosing Wisely Canada is organized by the Canadian Medical Association and the University of Toronto, and is chaired by Dr. Wendy Levinson. The services targeted by the Choosing Wisely lists have broad variance in how much impact they can have on patients' care and costs.[42]

By 2015 and following the Choosing Wisely precedent established in the United States, health leaders from Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Wales committed to bring ideas from the Choosing Wisely and sometimes even the actual campaign itself into their own countries.[43]


Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation. Organizations from various fields have different roles in the campaign.[44]

Nine specialty societies agreed to participate at the project's start.[45] These include the following:

Societies that began to participate starting in February 2013 include the following:[53]

Societies beginning their participation between September 2013 and March 2015 include the following:[53]

Societies which have expressed intent to participate in Choosing Wisely in the future include the following:[53]

Consumer Reports creates and distributes versions of the information written in plain English.[1] Communication partners to the public include the following:[70]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Cassel, C. A.; Guest, J. A. (2012). "Choosing Wisely - Helping Physicians and Patients Make Smart Decisions About Their Care". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 307 (17): 1801–1802. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.476.  edit
  2. ^ a b Rabin, Roni Caryn (April 4, 2012). "Doctor Panels Urge Fewer Routine Tests -". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Rosenthal, Elisabeth (2 June 2012). "Let's (Not) Get Physicals". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Jaslow, Ryan (April 4, 2012). "Doctors unveil 'Choosing Wisely' campaign to cut unnecessary medical tests". CBS News. New York: CBS. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Hellmich, Nanci (4 April 2012). "Coalition of medical societies urges questioning treatments". USA Today (McLean, VA: Gannett). ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Levey, Noam N. (20 February 2013). "Doctors list overused medical treatments". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles: Tribune Co). ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Hackbarth, A. D. (2012). "Eliminating Waste in US Health Care". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 307 (14): 1513–1516. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.362.  edit
  9. ^ Reid, Proctor P.; Compton, W. Dale; Grossman, Jerome H.; Fanjiang, Gary (2005). Building a better delivery system : a new engineering/health care partnership. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-09643-0. 
  10. ^ Vastag, Brian (4 April 2012). "Doctors groups call for end to unnecessary procedures". The Washington Post (Washington DC: WPC). ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Davis, Karen; Schoen, Cathy; Stremikis, Kristof (June 2010). Mirror, Mirror on the Wall - How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally - 2010 Update (PDF) (Report). Commonwealth Fund. Retrieved 18 October 2012. Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States consistently underperforms on most dimensions of performance, relative to other countries 
  12. ^ Redberg, R. F. (2012). "Getting to Best Care at Lower Cost<alt-title>Getting to Best Care at Lower Cost</alt-title>". Archives of Internal Medicine 173 (2): 1–0. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1271.  edit
  13. ^ Detsky, A. S. (2012). "A New Model for Medical Education: Celebrating Restraint". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 308 (13): 1329–1330. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.11869.  edit
  14. ^ Crosson, F. J. (April 27, 2009). "Change the Microenvironment". Commonwealth Fund and Modern Healthcare. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Brett, A. S. (2012). "Addressing Requests by Patients for Nonbeneficial Interventions". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 307 (2): 149–150. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1999.  edit
  16. ^ American Board of Internal Medicine; American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine; European Federation of Internal Medicine (2002). "Medical professionalism in the new millennium: A physician charter". Annals of internal medicine 136 (3): 243–246. PMID 11827500. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-136-3-200202050-00012.  edit
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  19. ^ a b Kuehn, B. M. (2012). "Movement to Promote Good Stewardship of Medical Resources Gains Momentum". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 307 (9): 895–903. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.218.  edit
  20. ^ Good Stewardship Working, G. (2011). "The "Top 5" Lists in Primary Care - Meeting the Responsibility of Professionalism". Archives of Internal Medicine 171 (15): 1385–1390. PMID 21606090. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.231.  edit
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  24. ^
    • Graber, M. L. (2012). "Bringing Diagnosis into the Quality and Safety Equations - Bringing Diagnosis into Quality and Safety Efforts". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 308 (12): 1211–1212. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.11913.  edit
    • Emanuel, E.; Tanden, N.; Altman, S.; Armstrong, S.; Berwick, D.; De Brantes, F. O.; Calsyn, M.; Chernew, M.; Colmers, J.; Cutler, D.; Daschle, T.; Egerman, P.; Kocher, B.; Milstein, A.; Oshima Lee, E.; Podesta, J. D.; Reinhardt, U.; Rosenthal, M.; Sharfstein, J.; Shortell, S.; Stern, A.; Orszag, P. R.; Spiro, T. (2012). "A Systemic Approach to Containing Health Care Spending". New England Journal of Medicine 367 (10): 949–954. PMID 22852883. doi:10.1056/NEJMsb1205901.  edit
  25. ^
    • Quinn, K. (2012). "Reducing Radiology Use on an Inpatient Medical Service: Choosing Wisely". Archives of Internal Medicine: 1–0. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.4293.  edit
    • Forman, H. P.; Larson, D. B.; Kazerooni, E. A.; Norbash, A.; Crowe, J. K.; Javitt, M. C.; Beauchamp, N. J.; Mendelson, E. B. (2012). "Masters of Radiology Panel Discussion: Hyperefficient Radiology—Can We Maintain the Pace?". American Journal of Roentgenology 199 (4): 838–843. PMID 22997376. doi:10.2214/AJR.12.9648.  edit
  26. ^ Szabo, Liz (22 February 2013). "Doctors group says some tests should be used sparingly". USA Today (McLean, VA: Gannett). ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f g Volpp, K. G.; Loewenstein, George; Asch, David A. (2012). "Choosing Wisely: Low-Value Services, Utilization, and Patient Cost Sharing". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 308 (16): 1635–1636. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.13616.  edit
  28. ^ Bloche, M. G. (2012). "Beyond the "R Word"? Medicine's New Frugality". New England Journal of Medicine 366 (21): 1951–1953. PMID 22551108. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1203521.  edit
  29. ^
  30. ^
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  32. ^ Quote taken from Forbes.
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  34. ^ Boer, M. -J.; Wall, E. E. (2012). "Choosing wisely or beyond the guidelines". Netherlands Heart Journal 21 (1): 1–2. PMC 3528861. PMID 23203730. doi:10.1007/s12471-012-0352-0.  edit
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  36. ^ Robbins, Richard A.; Allen R. Thomas (2012). "Will Fewer Tests Improve Healthcare or Profits?". Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care 4: 111–113. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  37. ^ a b Robbins, Richard A.; Thomas, Allen R. (4 June 2013). "Choosing Wisely-Where Is the Choice?". Southwest Journal of Pulmonary & Critical Care. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  38. ^ Wang, Shirley S. (20 February 2013). "Group Urges Health-Test Curbs". The Wall Street Journal (New York: Dow Jones). ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  39. ^ Tiefer, L.; Witczak, K.; Heath, I. (2013). "A call to challenge the "Selling of Sickness"". BMJ 346: f2809. PMID 23674139. doi:10.1136/bmj.f2809.  edit
  40. ^ Strech, Daniel (30 May 2013). "Eine Choosing Wisely Initiative für Deutschland?". Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (in German). Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  41. ^
  42. ^ Morden, N. E.; Colla, C. H.; Sequist, T. D.; Rosenthal, M. B. (2014). "Choosing Wisely — the Politics and Economics of Labeling Low-Value Services". New England Journal of Medicine: 140122140218007. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1314965.  edit
  43. ^ Levinson, W.; Kallewaard, M.; Bhatia, R. S.; Wolfson, D.; Shortt, S.; Kerr, E. A.; Burgers, J.; Cucic, C.; Daniels, M.; Forde, I.; Geerlings, S.; Gogol, M.; Haverkamp, M.; Henderson, A.; Howson, H.; Huynh, T.; Kievit, J.; Klemperer, D.; Koizumi, S.; Lindner, R.; Maughan, D.; McDonald, K.; Peul, W.; Post, H.; Rodondi, N.; Santa, J.; Schoeler, R.; Smid, H.; Stephenson, T.; Trier, H.; van Barneveld, T.; van der Kraan, J.; Vernero, S.; Wagner, C. (2014). "'Choosing Wisely': a growing international campaign". BMJ Quality & Safety 24 (2): 167–174. ISSN 2044-5415. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2014-003821. 
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  46. ^
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  71. ^ Self-published sources say, "The Wikipedia community, through a dedicated Wikipedian in Residence". See the Cassel video, as well as official listings and other mentions of Wikipedia in these:

Further reading

External links