Media releases

Choosing Wisely Update - December 2019

Read about our 2019 Report, new opioids guide for patients, 2020 National Meeting date, recent forums showcasing the initiative and news from our members.

2019 Choosing Wisely Australia Report: Partnering for change


The importance of strong partnerships in successfully driving and growing an initiative like Choosing Wisely Australia is reflected in this year’s annual report: Partnering for change.

Released today, the report highlights key implementation work and insights from across our ever-increasing network of 88 members and supporters, all committed to influencing the national dialogue around unnecessary healthcare.

Stories range from practice change to policy change, including first-hand accounts from Choosing Wisely advocates delivering healthcare to patients in primary care, allied services and in our hospitals. Read the report

New patient guide: managing pain and opioid medicines

Opioid guide

As part of a national effort to help reduce the number of Australians experiencing harm from pharmaceutical opioids, a new patient guide to managing pain and opioid medicines has been released as part of the latest NPS MedicineWise national education program, Opioids, chronic pain and the bigger picture

The simple two-page guide was developed in consultation with the Queensland Clinical Senate, with testing supported by the Queensland Opioid Stewardship Program and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists

There are three key elements to support people who are prescribed opioids for non-cancer pain in hospitals and in primary care:

  • Five questions people are encouraged to ask their health professional before leaving hospital with opioids. This has been modelled on Choosing Wisely Australia’s 5 questions to ask your doctor resource to guide better conversations with health professionals about tests, treatments and procedures.
  • Tips for taking and storing opioids at home.
  • A personal pain management plan that should be developed in conjunction with a health professional.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Adj A/Prof Steve Morris said: “With statistics showing three lives are lost, 150 people are hospitalised, and 14 people present to emergency departments every day due to harm caused by pharmaceutical opioids, we need to ensure more information is available to people at the point these medicines are prescribed.”

This is the first time in Australia that the Choosing Wisely principles have been applied to driving conversations about a specific treatment in a format that can be distributed in hospitals, in primary care and can be accessed directly by consumers and carers.

We encourage you to share this new patient guide with your networks and help drive better conversations between people prescribed an opioid medicine for non-cancer pain and their health professionals. Download the guide

Queensland Clinical Senate Meeting


Developed in consultation with the Queensland Clinical Senate, a sneak preview of the opioids patient guide was presented at its November meeting by NPS Clinical Lead Rawa Osman (centre).

The meeting was themed Low benefit care: Runs on the board and showcased programs of work from around Queensland that are reducing low benefit care.

Media engagement

A joint media launch was undertaken with the Queensland Clinical Senate, Society of Hospital Pharmacists and the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College on 19 November resulting in more than 550 news stories across general news and trade media outlets. Read the media release

Save the date: 2020 National Meeting


NPS MedicineWise will host the 2020 Choosing Wisely Australia National Meeting, #OKtoAsk2020, on Wednesday May 20 at the ICC Sydney. The event will be followed with the biannual National Medicines Symposium on 21 May.

The event is open to health professionals, health service staff, consumers, medical students, researchers – anyone with an interest in helping drive the national conversation on reducing unnecessary healthcare.

More information about registrations and abstract submissions will be available in the New Year.

For a flavour of this popular annual event, read about the 2019 National Meeting

Events showcasing Choosing Wisely

36th ACEM Annual Scientific Meeting (Hobart, 17–21 November)

Choosing Wisely featured in several sessions at the recent Australasian College of Emergency Medicine’s (ACEM) Annual Scientific Meeting, including an interactive workshop on Choosing Wisely – What’s next for ACEM in reducing low-value care? chaired by Dr Simon Judkins, ACEM Immediate Past President, Deputy Director of Emergency Medicine and Choosing Wisely Clinical Lead at Austin Health.

The session included a presentation from Dr David Rosengren, Executive Director and Senior Staff Specialist Emergency Physician Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and Choosing Wisely Australia Advisory Group Chair, presented on How is ACEM Choosing Wisely? Dr Rosengren posed the questions: “Do we really have the courage to challenge ourselves around low-value care? And “Are we ready for consumers to ask questions and to challenge?”

Giant Steps 2019 (Melbourne, 21–22 November)

Safer Care Victoria held its Giant Steps 2019 healthcare quality and safety conference addressing the themes of quality improvement, emerging health challenges, leadership, and delivering high-quality care. NPS MedicineWise Client Relations Manager Dr Robyn Lindner joined representatives of the Safer Care Victoria Scaling Collaboration in a breakfast showcase panel When less is more: Choosing Wisely to improve healthcare.

Preventing Overdiagnosis 2019 (Sydney, 5 December)

A Choosing Wisely workshop on Getting the message right. Talking with consumers about overdiagnosis was held at Wiser Healthcare’s Preventing Overdiagnosis conference. The workshop was jointly hosted by NPS MedicineWise Client Relations Manager, Dr Robyn Lindner, Founder & Principal of Civic Health Partners in the US Tara Montgomery (formerly of Consumer Reports the organisation who lead consumer communication for Choosing Wisely in the US), and Professor Kirsten McCaffery Director of the Sydney Health Literacy Lab at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health.

NT Clinical Senate (Darwin, 5–6 December)

Dr Matthew Anstey, Intensive Care Specialist and Co-Director of ICU Research at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Western Australia and immediate past Chair of the Choosing Wisely Advisory Group, attended the NT Clinical Senate, titled First do no harm, meeting on 6 December as an expert witness and to present on Choosing Wisely.

Member news


We are excited to welcome Bendigo Health (Vic), Canberra Health Services and Mercy Health (Vic) to our Champion Health Services network, bringing the total number of health services implementing Choosing Wisely to 35.

WHHS demonstrating impact of Choosing Wisely

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service has released the outcomes of a number of Choosing Wisely projects that have reduced unnecessary testing and treatment for patients. In a 27 November media statement, the health service revealed changes in pathology, medical imaging and pharmacy from January-October 2018 to the same period in 2019 had resulted in:

  • a 14% reduction in CT head scans and an 8% reduction of leg vein ultrasounds at Bundaberg Hospital
  • a 1.3% reduction in CT head scans and a 3.2% reduction in CT pulmonary angiogram scans at Hervey Bay Hospital, despite a significant increase in emergency department presentations
  • an overall reduction in a range of blood tests at Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg hospitals
  • reduction in opioid pain relief prescribing following surgery, allowing patients to be discharged safely home to start their recovery earlier.

Read the media release

Choicie Awards at Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) introduced a poster competition at its annual SCHHS Patient Safety Day on 31 October. Using the Choosing Wisely Australia “Choicies Awards” kit, the competition comprised two categories, one of which was The Choiceys employee awards.

Seven posters were submitted in this category and The Choicey was presented to Dr Anna Pietzsch (Anaesthetic Fellow), and the team comprising Dr Florencia La Macchia (Anaesthetist), Dr Eavan O’Brien (Registrar) and Dr Christopher Simpson for their poster Exploring MAPS: Management of Anaemia Prior to Surgery at Sunshine Coast University Hospital. In winning the award, Anna will be supported to attend the 2020 National Choosing Wisely Australia Meeting.

If you’re keen to recognise your colleagues for championing Choosing Wisely in your organisation, please check out our special awards kit designed just for that purpose. Find out more

Season’s Greetings


Thank you to all of our members and supporters who have supported the growth and impact of Choosing Wisely in Australia during 2019.

We wish you all the very best during the festive season and look forward to working with you again in 2020, in our combined effort to reduce unnecessary healthcare for Australians.

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

More details

5 Questions

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

Find out more