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May 6, 2014

Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC)

Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) is a campaign to help physicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures, and to help physicians and patients make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality care.

Unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures do not add value to care. In fact, they take away from care by potentially exposing patients to harm, leading to more testing to investigate false positives and contributing to stress and avoidable costs for patients. And of course unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures put increased strain on the resources of our health care system.

Canadian national specialty societies participating in the campaign, representing a broad spectrum of physicians, have been asked to develop lists of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question.” These lists identify tests, treatments or procedures commonly used in each specialty, but are not supported by evidence, and/or could expose patients to unnecessary harm.

Choosing Wisely Canada is modelled after the Choosing Wisely® campaign in the United States, which was launched by the ABIM Foundation in April 2012.

Choosing Wisely Canada is organized by Dr. Wendy Levinson in partnership with the Canadian Medical Association.

Choosing Wisely Canada got underway initially in Ontario and quickly spread to provinces like Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia, all of which have established or are in the process of establishing mechanisms to support the adoption of the Choosing Wisely Canada lists.

Choosing Wisely Canada recognizes the importance of educating and engaging patients so that they could make informed choices about their care. This campaign has created patient-friendly materials to help patients learn about the tests, treatments or procedures in question, when they are necessary and when they are not, and what patients can do to improve their health. Choosing Wisely Canada is working with various stakeholder groups to disseminate the patient materials widely.

The lists of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” are not intended to be used to establish payment and coverage decisions. Rather, they are meant to spur conversation about what is appropriate and necessary treatment. As each patient situation is unique, physicians and patients should use the Choosing Wisely Canada materials to determine an appropriate treatment plan together.