Media releases

Choosing Wisely Update - June 2020

Latest news from Choosing Wisely Australia

In this edition of our newsletter: Choosing Wisely Australia pandemic guidance for consumers and for clinicians, member news about a new Champion Health Service and an updated recommendation for testosterone therapy, our hospital resource addresses a patient opioid knowledge gap, get to know some members of the Choosing Wisely Australia team, and read about the features of our new website, such as the new resources section for accessing toolkits to support your Choosing Wisely implementation activities.

Choosing Wisely Australia pandemic guidance

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The Choosing Wisely principles have been a pillar during Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

Our health system has come together for a common goal and purpose to manage the pandemic. Health professionals have had to be stewards of our finite health resources. Multidisciplinary teams have united to adopt an evidence-based, patient-centred approach. As a result, our health system has adapted in ways and with urgency unseen before.

To assist clinicians and consumers to access reliable information about the pandemic we’ve developed specific pandemic guidance, which is based on current evidence and will continue to be updated as evidence evolves over time.

Read our five messages for consumers to provide guidance about your health care during a pandemic.

Read our five messages for doctors and other health professionals to provide guidance for appropriate tests, treatments and procedures during a pandemic.

Member news

New Champion Health Service

We welcomed The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, Queensland as our 39th Champion Health Service in May 2020.

Queensland now has 10 Champion Health Services implementing Choosing Wisely across the state. The Prince Charles Hospital embraced technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming the first Champion Health Service to launch Choosing Wisely completely virtually via videoconference on 28 May.

Updated recommendation on testosterone therapy

The Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine has updated its recommendations with a new recommendation: Do not prescribe testosterone therapy to older men except in confirmed cases of hypogonadism.

This recommendation replaces a previous recommendation on the use of nucleic acid amplification testing for gonorrhoea.

Hospital resource addresses patient opioid knowledge gap

Managing pain and opioid medicines action plan

A recent scientific paper published in the ANZ Journal of Surgery found that patients are not provided with sufficient information when discharged from a hospital with opioids—but the Choosing Wisely 'Managing pain and opioid medicines' resource for use in hospitals is helping address this patient knowledge gap.

The research paper explored GPs’ opinions around information provided to patients discharged with opioids from an Australian metropolitan hospital. The study found that these patients often had false expectations that they would be pain-free with opioids, they did not understand the risks around opioids, and they expected to continue to use opioids indefinitely.

A new survey* released by NPS MedicineWise in June also supported the paper’s findings, with, for example, only 37% of respondents knowing that using an opioid in the long term can actually make the pain worse.

“Hospital staff are encouraged to provide the two-page Choosing Wisely patient guide on Managing pain and opioid medicines to people prescribed opioids as inpatients, or on discharge,” says Choosing Wisely Australia spokesperson Dr Robyn Lindner.

“The guide aims to raise awareness about opioids use for short-term pain, their side effects and the risks of dependence,” she says.

Get to know the Choosing Wisely Australia team

Scott Walsberger

Earlier this year at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, Scott Walsberger joined NPS MedicineWise as the Choosing Wisely Australia Lead, navigating the new role entirely virtually.

In this role, Scott engages with the specialist colleges, the health sector, and consumer groups to develop and implement the Choosing Wisely strategy.

He has a Master of Public Health from UNSW and has worked across prevention, early detection, patient support and research of chronic diseases.

Scott joins the larger Choosing Wisely Australia team, which also includes Health Services Lead, Anne-Marie Martin.

Anne Marie

Anne-Marie is a Consultant Pharmacist and NPS MedicineWise Educational Visitor who provides educational visits to general practitioners and other health professionals in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. In her Choosing Wisely role, Anne-Marie coordinates the 39 Champion Health Services across Australia to support them with implementation of the Choosing Wisely initiative. She hosts monthly webinars for the health services to showcase their Choosing Wisely projects and connects the network to share learnings and resources with each other.

Her favourite part of both roles is speaking to and collaborating with professionals who are driven to improve healthcare for everyone.

Scott, Anne-Marie and the rest of the team would love to hear from you with any questions, ideas, or stories about how Choosing Wisely is making a difference in your area. To get in touch, email the team at choosingwise[email protected].

Feature stories highlight Choosing Wisely in practice

A new series of Choosing Wisely feature stories highlights how the initiative is being put into practice in various settings around Australia.

Read about how Geelong GP Dr Deb Harley implements Choosing Wisely at her practice and encourages her patients to have important conversations about their health, and how Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) recognises that for many people hospital is just one part of their healthcare journey, so helping consumers ask questions about their care and promoting broader collaboration with consumers is vital.

New Choosing Wisely Australia website

We are excited to announce that the new Choosing Wisely Australia website was launched earlier this year.

New features include the ability to export Choosing Wisely recommendations to an Excel spreadsheet and a new resources section which contains various toolkits, including The “Choicies” Awards Kit to recognise people championing Choosing Wisely through their day-to-day activities, Stewardship Toolkit for Clinical Educators and Choosing Wisely in General Practice.

There is a slide deck to assist you when you are presenting on Choosing Wisely at conferences and other health events, and additional digital resources such as the Choosing Wisely videos available to order via email.

If you are interested in implementing Choosing Wisely at your organisation, email [email protected]

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