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Journal articles

Keep updated with interviews, case studies and news clips from the Choosing Wisely Australia® initiative.

11 April 2022 | Journal of Patient Experience | SAGE journals

Integrating the Choosing Wisely 5 Questions into Family Meetings in the Intensive Care Unit: A Randomized Controlled Trial Investigating the Effect on Family Perceived Involvement in Decision-Making


Family members often act as surrogate decision makers for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). The use of printed prompts may assist with families feeling empowered to fulfill this role. Prospective, randomized controlled trial in 3 ICUs in Western Australia. In the intervention arm, families received the Choosing Wisely 5 questions as printed prompts prior to a family meeting, and the control arm did not receive prompts. The primary outcome was family perceived involvement in decision-making. Outcomes were measured using a survey. Sixty families participated in the study. The majority of families (87.1% control, 79.3% intervention; P = .334) reported feeling “very included” in decision-making. There was no difference in secondary outcomes, including minimal uptake of the questions by the intervention arm. This has been the first randomized trial evaluating the use of a decision-making tool for families in the ICU. Despite ceiling effects in outcome measures, these results suggest room for future study of the Choosing Wisely 5 questions in the ICU.

20 April 2020 | Pediatric Anesthesia Wiley

Infant peripherally inserted central catheter insertion without general anesthesia


Avoiding anesthesia for infant peripherally inserted central catheter insertion beyond the neonatal period has been the subject of very little research despite this being a high-risk age group. In our institution, we introduced a “Fast, Feed, and Wrap” technique, previously described for magnetic resonance imaging scans, for infants up to 6 months and weighing under 5.5 kg undergoing peripherally inserted central catheter insertion.

The aim was to report our experience using “Fast, Feed, and Wrap,” in particular the success rate and proportion of qualifying infants who were managed this way.

A retrospective study was undertaken using electronic records and case notes to determine patient age, weight, indication for procedure, anesthetic technique (general anesthesia or “Fast, Feed, and Wrap”), peripherally inserted central catheter details (site of insertion, gauge, and number of lumens), and length of procedure.

Fifty-one infants qualified for “Fast, Feed, and Wrap” over a 42-month period, 43 were attempted this way and 40 were successful. All infants were greater than 40 weeks postconceptual age at the time of peripherally inserted central catheter insertion under “Fast, Feed, and Wrap,” though 26% were preterm. The average age of babies undergoing “Fast, Feed, and Wrap” was 35 days (IQR 18-55), and the median weight was 3.78 kg (IQR 3.48-4.77).

Infants younger than 6 months and under 5.5 kg can be managed without general anesthesia for peripherally inserted central catheter insertion using a Fast, Feed, and Wrap technique.

anesthesia, infant, interventional, neonate, radiology

21 July 2021 | EMA

Effect of a clinical flowchart incorporating Wells score, PERC rule and age-adjusted D-dimer on pulmonary embolism diagnosis, scan rates and diagnostic yield


Objective: To assess the association between the use of a flowchart incorporating Wells score, PERC rule and age-adjusted D-dimer and subsequent imaging and yield rates of computed tomography pulmonary angiogram and nuclear medicine ventilation perfusion scans being ordered in the ED for the assessment of pulmonary embolism.

Methods: A flowchart governing ED pulmonary embolism investigation was introduced across three EDs in Melbourne, Australia for a 12 month period. Comparison of pulmonary embolism imaging rates and yield with the preceding 12 months was performed.

Results: A total of 1815 pre-implementation scans were performed compared with 1116 scans post-implementation. Because of growth in patient attendances over this time, this equated to an imaging rate of 14.5 per 1000 presentations pre-implementation and 8.6 per 1000 presentations post-implementation (P < 0.001). Overall pulmonary embolism imaging yield rates rose from 9.9% to 16.5% (P < 0.001). A total of 179 pre-implementation pulmonary embolisms were identified, with an incidence of 1.4 per 1000 presentations. This compared to 184 pulmonary embolisms post-implementation, with an incidence of 1.4 per 1000 presentations (P = 0.994).

Conclusion: The introduction of a clinical flowchart incorporating Wells score, PERC rule and age-adjusted D-dimer was associated with an increase in ED computed tomography pulmonary angiogram and nuclear medicine ventilation perfusion yield rate from 9.9% to 16.5% across the three enrolment hospitals when investigating possible pulmonary embolism. This corresponded to a 40% relative reduction in pulmonary embolism imaging. Diagnosis rates remained unchanged and no cases of missed pulmonary embolism attributable to the flowchart were identified.

Key words: computed tomography, D-dimer, emergency department, pulmonary angiogram, ventilation perfusion scan.

19 July 2021 | MJA

Low value care is a health hazard that calls for patient empowerment

To protect themselves from the potential harms of low value care, patients must take an active role in clinical decision making.

Low value care is care that is ineffective, harmful or confers marginal benefit at disproportionately high cost. Professionally‐led campaigns such as Choosing Wisely Australia and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ EVOLVE program aim to reduce the prevalence of such care. However, similar overseas campaigns have been marred by selective focus on infrequent, low impact, or less financially lucrative practices; uncertainty about the most effective de‐adoption strategies; and limited success to date in reducing overuse. While clinician‐targeted education programs, audit and feedback, and decision support feature prominently, evidence appears stronger and impact seems greater for strategies directed to, or mediated by, patients.

26 February 2021 | Health Policy

Physicians’ views and experiences of defensive medicine: An international review of empirical research

This study systematically maps empirical research on physicians’ views and experiences of hedging-type defensive medicine, which involves providing services (eg, tests, referrals) to reduce perceived legal risks. Such practices drive over-treatment and low value healthcare. Data sources were empirical, English‐language publications in health, legal and multi-disciplinary databases. The extraction framework covered: where and when the research was conducted; what methods of data collection were used; who the study participants were; and what were the study aims, main findings in relation to hedging-type defensive practices, and proposed solutions.

79 papers met inclusion criteria. Defensive medicine has mainly been studied in the United States and European countries using quantitative surveys. Surgery and obstetrics have been key fields of investigation. Hedging-type practices were commonly reported, including: ordering unnecessary tests, treatments and referrals; suggesting invasive procedures against professional judgment; ordering hospitalisation or delaying discharge; and excessive documentation in medical records. Defensive practice was often framed around the threat of negligence lawsuits, but studies recognised other legal risks, including patient complaints and regulatory investigations. Potential solutions to defensive medicine were identified at macro (law, policy), meso (organisation, profession) and micro (physician) levels.

Areas for future research include qualitative studies to investigate the behavioural drivers of defensive medicine and intervention research to determine policies and practices that work to support clinicians in de-implementing defensive, low-value care.

Stewardship toolkit for clinical educators

The Health Resource Stewardship for Clinical educators contains educational material about the Choosing Wisely initiative for use in universities, hospitals and health professional colleges

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5 Questions

5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider to make sure you end up with the right amount of care.

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