This week (28 February - 6 March 2022) is Choosing Wisely Week. During this week and always, people can ask questions about their healthcare.
Choosing Wisely Australia is part of a world-wide campaign urging people to talk to their doctor, pharmacist or nurse. It's OK to ask which tests and treatments you really need to keep you healthy. During Choosing Wisely Week, watch out for your doctor, pharmacist or hospital talking about Choosing Wisely. They may be advising you to ask questions about your care. They may also talk about the ways they are stopping tests and treatments that you don't need.
"If you have low back pain and there is no sign of anything serious, an x-ray may not help," says Dr Robyn Lindner from Choosing Wisely Australia.
"It may not change your treatment and may even cause harm."
"Another example is taking opioid medicines to help with persistent pain not caused by cancer. Evidence shows they can have bad side effects and may not help with the pain over time."
“These are examples of when it is important to talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse,” she says.
Forty-seven Australian health professional colleges are members of Choosing Wisely Australia. Each support Choosing Wisely goals. Each has said how to cut back on tests and treatments that you don't need.
"Choosing Wisely is all about taking your health into your own hands," says Dr Lindner.
"It's about asking questions about your care. That way, you can better understand the options to help decide what is best for you."
"We have 5 questions to ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse to start a conversation," she says.
The Choosing Wisely 5 questions are:
- Do I really need this treatment?
- What are the side effects?
- Are there simpler, safer options?
- What happens if I do nothing?
- What are the costs?
The Choosing Wisely 5 questions in English and other languages are on the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
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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
5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider to make sure you end up with the right amount of care.