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Local Campaign Promotes Necessary and Appropriate Health Care

Choosing Wisely Utah to hold panel discussions to encourage conversations between patients and physicians about receiving the right care at the right time

March 19 - According to the Institute of Medicine, up to 30 percent of health care in the U.S. is unnecessary. Choosing Wisely Utah, a grantee of the ABIM Foundation, has developed a campaign to educate the community on tests and procedures that are often overused and sometimes provide little value to patients.

With two public panel discussions to be held in Salt Lake City and Orem, Choosing Wisely Utah will examine how patients and physicians can engage in crucial conversations about utilizing the most beneficial care and avoiding treatments that add little or no benefit.

“The campaign brings together physician organizations and patient organizations like Consumer Reports to begin to talk about how we can work together to reduce waste in health care and make people safer with evidence–based best practices,” said Dr. Sarah Woolsey, medical director of HealthInsight, a local non-profit organization which is convening the community around the campaign.

The campaign solicited input from 140 local organizations to select two general areas of focus: appropriate use of antibiotics and evidence-based use of imaging tests. The Choosing Wisely recommendations from national medical specialty societies provide more specific guidelines for providers and patients, such as avoiding antibiotics for head and chest colds caused by a virus.

“We want patients and physicians to open the communication channels about care because some common tests, treatments and procedures may not make sense,” said Robin Betts, assistant vice president of quality and patient safety, Intermountain Healthcare. “We encourage patients to ask questions about the benefits, risks and alternatives to all procedures to ensure they receive the right treatment at the right time.”

To help patients prepare for exams and appointments, the Consumer Reports created five evidence-based questions for patients to ask their physician before a procedure:

  1. Do I really need this test or procedure?
  2. What are the risks?
  3. Are there simpler, safer options?
  4. What happens if I don’t do anything?
  5. How much does it cost?

The first panel discussion will be held March 27th, 4 p.m. at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, Orson Spencer Hall, 260 S. South Campus Dr., room 253. The panelists for the event include John Santa, Consumer Reports; Daniel Wolfson, ABIM Foundation; Michael K. Magill, University of Utah Heath Plans; Alan Ormsby, AARP Utah and Wayne Cannon, Intermountain Healthcare.

The second discussion will be held April 7 at noon in the Ragan Theatre at Utah Valley University, 800 W. University Parkway. The panelists include Scott Barlow, Central Utah Clinic; David Shute, GreenField Health Systems and physician consultant for the Choosing Wisely Learning Network and Jason Stevenson, Utah Health Policy Project.

Both events are free and open to the public. For more information about the local Choosing Wisely campaign, please visit healthinsight.org/choose.

About Choosing Wisely

Created by the ABIM Foundation, Choosing Wisely aims to promote conversations between physicians and patients by helping patients choose care that is supported by evidence, not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received, free from harm and truly necessary. In response to this challenge, national organizations representing medical specialists have been asked to “choose wisely” by identifying tests or procedures commonly used in their field, whose necessity should be questioned and discussed. For more information, please visit www.choosingwisely.org.