Choosing Wisely®

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Choosing Wisely Utah's Top 5*:

In Utah, we are working to advance the ABIM Foundation's national Choosing Wisely campaign, created to help patients and healthcare professionals work together to make "wise" choices about care. This partnership between HealthInsight, medical providers, employers, consumers, and health systems is focusing on raising awareness around five common procedures and tests that are unnecessary, and provide little value to patients, in most cases:

1. Antibiotics for head and chest colds caused by a virus in children

If your child has a sore throat, cough, or runny nose, you might expect the doctor to prescribe antibiotics. But most of the time, children don't need antibiotics to treat a respiratory illness. In fact, antibiotics can do more harm than good. Click here to find out why.

2. Imaging (CT scan or MRI) for headaches that occur without any other major symptoms

Many people who experience severe headaches want a CT scan or MRI to see if they're caused by a brain tumor or other serious problem. But most of the time neither test is necessary. Click here to find out why.

3. Routinely prescribing antibiotics or an x-ray for mild or moderate sinus infections

Millions of people are prescribed antibiotics each year for sinusitis, a frequent complication of the common cold, hay fever, and other respiratory allergies. In fact, 15 to 21 percent of all antibiotic prescriptions for adults in outpatient care are for treating sinusitis. Unfortunately, most of those people probably don't need the drugs. Click here to find out why.

4. Imaging tests for back pain in the first six weeks of symptoms

Back pain can be excruciating. So it seems that getting an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to find the cause would be a good idea. But that's usually not the case, at least at first. Click here to find out why.

5. CT scans as an initial step for evaluating minor head injuries in children

Minor head injuries occur commonly in children and adolescents. Approximately 50% of children who visit hospital emergency departments with a head injury are given a CT scan, many of which may be unnecessary. Click here to find out why.

*We had 395 survey completions from 140 organizations to develop Choosing Wisely Utah's Top 5 areas of focus.

How can physicians and patients have the important conversations necessary to ensure the right care is delivered at the right time? Choosing Wisely® aims to answer that question.

Read more on this initiative

If other prices had grown as quickly as health care costs since 1945, today a gallon of milk would cost $48!
30% of health care spending is wasted on unnecessary services, including some that may not improve people's health!

An initiative of the ABIM Foundation, Choosing Wisely is focused on encouraging physicians, patients and other health care stakeholders to think and talk about medical tests and procedures that may be unnecessary, and in some instances can cause harm. Visit to find out more.

Recognizing that patients need better information, Consumer Reports is developing patient-friendly materials and is working with consumer groups to disseminate them widely. For more information, visit

HealthInsight recently received a grant from the ABIM Foundation to advance the Choosing Wisely® campaign. Support for this program comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Come to our UPV meetings (Utah Partnership for Value)
  • Come to one of our upcoming Town Hall meetings (more information coming soon)
  • Distribute Choosing Wisely materials (see Resources tab)
  • Email us with your suggestions at

Early Childhood Resources

Antibiotics for a sore throat, cough, or runny nose Download/View
When children need them—and when they don’t
Treating sinusitis Download/View
Don’t rush to antibiotics
Choosing Wisely Wallet Cards Download/View
A stuffed up nose and headache are no fun. But, antibiotics rarely work for a cold. 5 questions to ask your doctor about tests or treatments.
5 QUESTIONS to Ask Your Doctor Before You Get Any Test, Treatment, or Procedure Download/View
Use the 5 questions to talk to your doctor about which tests, treatments, and procedures you need - and which you don't need.
Consumer Reports® and Choosing Wisely® Logos Download/View

Note: You can print these materials for your own use.

Questions/Comments? Please contact Michelle Carlson at or 801-892-6646.

Wallet Cards:

Choosing Wisely Wallet Cards Page 1
Choosing Wisely Wallet Cards Page 2

Utah Campaign in the News

Utah Partners
  • Utah Academy of Family Physicians (UAFP)
  • AARP
  • Zion's Bank
  • ARUP
  • University of Utah
  • Utah Medical Association (UMA)
  • Intermountain Quality Council
  • Public Employees Health Program (PEHP)

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