Common medical procedures, including brain scans, food allergy tests, and long-term reflux medication, are unnecessary and possibly harmful for many patients and should be radically reduced, doctors have warned.
Five of the peak specialty medical groups have identified 24 tests and treatments that physicians and patients should question in a national campaign that aims to influence treatment standards in hospitals and medical practices across Australia.
Each college or association has listed five examples, including tests that lead to false positives or expose patients to radiation without generating a useful diagnosis, and treatments that new research has proven ineffective.
An analysis of 26 low-value healthcare practices in the United States estimated that up to $8 billion was being wasted on those procedures annually, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine report published in 2014. The report's co-author, University of Sydney Associate Professor Adam Elshaug, said that would equate to more than $500 million if translated directly to Australia.
The Choosing Wisely campaign, co-ordinated by the not-for-profit organisation NPS MedicineWise, has been modelled on an initiative of the same name launched in the United States in 2012 and has since been adopted in Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany.
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The Choosing Wisely implementation toolkit provides guidance on planning and carrying out an effective Choosing Wisely project for your health service.
Choosing Wisely Australia translated resources
Explore the translated versions of the 5 questions you should consider asking your doctor or other healthcare provider.