This week (22-28 March 2021) is Choosing Wisely Week, and Australians are being encouraged to ask, ‘Am I getting the right amount of healthcare – not too much and not too little?’
Choosing Wisely Australia is part of a global campaign encouraging a national conversation about reducing unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures. During Choosing Wisely Week hospitals, healthcare providers and other health organisations across Australia will be promoting Choosing Wisely principles and showcasing the ways they are working to reduce low-value care.
“An example of unnecessary care is having an x-ray to examine low back pain when there is no indication of anything more serious – the x-ray would likely not change your treatment,” says Dr Robyn Lindner from the NPS MedicineWise Choosing Wisely Australia initiative.
“Another example is taking opioid medicines to treat long-term non-cancer pain. Evidence shows that opioid medicines only have a small role in managing pain over the long-term, but they come with serious risks,” she says.
Forty six Australian health professional colleges are members of Choosing Wisely Australia and have provided a wide range of recommendations of ways to improve patient care and reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures within their own areas of expertise.
“Choosing Wisely is all about being more proactive in the management of your own healthcare and asking your healthcare provider questions about any test, treatment or procedure, so you can make a more informed decision about your health management,” says Dr Lindner.
“We have 5 questions to ask your doctor or healthcare provider to trigger the 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 are available on the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
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.