Media releases

Australia recognised as a leader in global Choosing Wisely movement

Australia is being recognised as one of the leading implementers of the global Choosing Wisely healthcare initiative according to one of the campaign’s key influencers in the United States.

Mr Daniel Wolfson, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the ABIM Foundation which founded Choosing Wisely, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Choosing Wisely Australia National Meeting on Wednesday 30 May, at the National Convention Centre Canberra.

Mr Wolfson said the nature of Australia’s healthcare system, strong engagement by the health profession and the expertise of NPS MedicineWise has created a strong platform for changing the culture around unnecessary healthcare in this country through better clinician-patient conversations about tests, treatments and procedures.

“When the ABIM Foundation launched the Choosing Wisely campaign more than six years ago to encourage doctors and patients to talk about what care is appropriate, we had no idea that it would become an international movement,” Mr. Wolfson said.

“Thanks to the many organisations we collaborate with, these important conversations are now happening in communities across America and around the world. Choosing Wisely Australia has made amazing progress and we look forward to learning about promising interventions and engagement efforts to foster a global dialogue about high-value care.”

The National Meeting will explore a variety of themes on addressing unnecessary healthcare. These will include:

  • local innovation to bring about culture change from health professional and consumer perspectives
  • learnings from health services championing Choosing Wisely in the hospital setting
  • changing culture through health professional education and training
  • spreading the Choosing Wisely message to engage Australian consumers
  • addressing barriers to reducing low-value healthcare.

Ankle and knee imaging addressed

NPS MedicineWise will present its evaluation of a recent national educational visiting program to promote best practice in diagnosis and treatment of acute ankle and knee injuries. This was the first visiting program to include Choosing Wisely Australia recommendations. More than 7000 GPs participated in the visits, with 26% reporting increased application of a Choosing Wisely recommendation following the visit.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes said: “Evidence shows that delivering face-to-face programs in a GP’s place of practice is more likely to result in a behavioural change and is a strong avenue for promotion of the latest evidence-based recommendations from Choosing Wisely.”

Reducing unnecessary urine cultures

Austin Health in Melbourne is one of 17 Australian health services implementing Choosing Wisely and has introduced a range of hospital-wide strategies to improve patient care.

For example, an education campaign was launched within Austin Hospital to address the unnecessary ordering of urine cultures, including guides for patients on how to correctly take a sample to minimise contamination. Before the project, a weekly average of 341 urine cultures were ordered (almost 18,000 per year), with 143 of these ordered in the Emergency Department (ED). This dropped to 250 tests ordered a week, with 88 in the ED.

Communicating risk to patients

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care will feature its online modules to help clinicians enhance their skills in communicating risks and benefits to their patients.

Commission Clinical Director Dr Robert Herkes said: “Patients want to be offered the opportunity to share in decisions about their care. Shared decision making is an active process of balancing the clinical evidence, including potential risks, benefits and outcomes, with patient preferences and values.”

About Choosing Wisely: Choosing Wisely Australia® is enabling clinicians, consumers and healthcare stakeholders to start important conversations about tests, treatments and procedures where evidence shows they provide no benefit and, in some cases, lead to harm. The campaign is being led by Australia's medical colleges and societies and is facilitated by NPS MedicineWise. It launched in April 2015.

Media enquiries:

Choosing Wisely Australia – Lyndell Coutts, Communications Lead – (02) 8217 8650 / 0429 050 103
Austin Health – Julie McNamara, Deputy Director Communications – (03) 9496 6671 / 0419 595 688

Media enquiries

Stephanie Childs
NPS MedicineWise Communications & PR Manager: 0419 618 365 or [email protected]

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