Employee & Community Health

'Choosing Wisely' for the best medical care

9/13/2018 by Dr. Denise Dupras

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It's no news that health care is more and more complex for patients and providers. Each visit may involve multiple decisions about tests and treatments. Which ones give you the benefits you need, what are the potential downsides, and how do you know which ones may be unnecessary? 

To help patients and providers answer these questions and more, the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, along with Consumer Reports, launched the "Choosing Wisely" campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage discussion and guide decision-making between patients and providers about their care and avoid unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures. 

The Choosing Wisely website provides patient-friendly, downloadable materials in English and Spanish, as well as a free, interactive app for iOS and Android devices that you and your providers can use to prepare for an appointment or at the time of the visit. 

Online or using the app, you can search for topics of interest, such as, "Antibiotics for a funny nose, cold or sore throat: When children need them or when they don't." or "Alzheimer's disease testing: When you need a brain scan and when you don't."

When you click on a topic, a wealth of information is revealed, including a description of the health issue, options for treatment, pros and cons for each option, things to watch out for, whether treatment or drugs are needed, questions to ask your provider and more. 

More than 70 medical societies and specialties, including nurses, nurse-midwives, surgery, surgical specialties, pediatrics, chiropractors, genetics, physical therapy, internal medicine and others have contributed to the campaign. 

Choosing Wisely is one more tool for helping you ask questions and make informed decisions about your health care. Give it a try. 

Dr. Denise Dupras is a general internist in Employee and Community Health's Division of Community Internal Medicine. She completed her MD-PhD at Mayo Medical School and her residency in Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic Rochester. Her interests include medical education and evidence-based medicine.