Choosing Wisely Hospitals show reductions in unnecessary tests, treatments

04 May 2017
Several of Australia’s leading health services will today outline how they are implementing the Choosing Wisely Australia initiative to reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures for patients in hospitals.

Pilot projects within hospitals which have successfully reduced patient exposure to a number of unnecessary pathology tests being ordered and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) being prescribed will feature at today’s (4 May) inaugural Choosing Wisely Australia National Meeting 2017 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The event, to be attended by more than 250 delegates will showcase the progress and achievements of Choosing Wisely in Australia since it was launched by NPS MedicineWise in April 2015.

Choosing Wisely Australia is clinician-led and aims to improve safety and quality in healthcare by eliminating unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures. It is part of a global social movement running in almost 20 countries. In Australia, 133 recommendations have been released by 29 participating medical colleges, societies and associations.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes said: “Choosing Wisely Australia has reached an important milestone by demonstrating strong early results in its first two years.

“This reinforces the long-term potential of Choosing Wisely to significantly change the mindsets and behaviours of health professionals and patients – to successfully challenge the notion that ‘more is better’ when it comes to managing a person’s health,” Dr Weekes said.

“Implementation of recommendations across the health sector and the community is key to achieving change, and today’s national meeting showcases the impact the Choosing Wisely initiative is already having across Australia.

“Choosing Wisely Australia aims to improve conversations between clinicians and consumers about unnecessary and potentially harmful health care. It is helping people increase their confidence in asking their health professionals the right questions about their health care, to ensure they are getting the most appropriate care for them,” says Dr Weekes.

“We want Australians to feel confident and comfortable in making decisions about their health and managing their medical conditions in partnership with healthcare providers, because there is no one-size-fits-all approach.”

Choosing Wisely Pathology Project Manager at Gold Coast Health, Therese Kelly, said the health service was ordering an average of 96,000 public pathology tests a month, which has now been reduced to an average of 93,500 while caring for a growing number of patients, over 15 months.
Clinical Director Emergency Department at Austin Health, Dr Simon Judkins, said: "Choosing Wisely at Austin Health has brought together all of our staff with a common goal - to provide safe and effective care for our patients by reducing practices that don’t add value for them. We are talking with our patients about what they want and need, not just what we think is best. It's a significant change in culture, but a change which needs to happen."

Intensive Care and Emergency Physician at Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and Choosing Wisely Australia Advisory Group Chair, Dr Matthew Anstey, said: “We are excited to be using Choosing Wisely to start conversations amongst the medical staff within our own hospital. One of our projects has reduced repeat blood tests in inpatients by 30% across multiple departments.”

Consumers Health Forum CEO, Leanne Wells, said:  “This development is a ground-shifting advance for consumers, promoting better health literacy and helping patients to be partners in their care.”


Last reviewed 02 May 2017