The Choosing Wisely Australia campaign that aims to reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures has led to projects that have reduced testing in several hospitals, a conference has heard.
The inaugural Choosing Wisely Australia National Meeting 2017 in Melbourne showcased the progress since the program was launched by NPS MedicineWise in April 2015.
The clinician-led program aims to improve safety and quality in healthcare by eliminating unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures. It is now running in almost 20 countries and NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weeks said that in Australia, 133 recommendations had been released by 29 participating medical colleges, societies and associations.
Unnecessary tests reduced
At Gold Coast Health, the project has seen the number of pathology tests ordered each month reduced from 96,000 to 93,500, while patient numbers have grown, Therese Kelly, Pathology Project Manager at Gold Coast Health said.
Intensive Care and Emergency Physician at Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and Choosing Wisely Australia Advisory Group Chair, Dr Matthew Anstey, said: “We are excited to be using Choosing Wisely to start conversations amongst the medical staff within our own hospital. One of our projects has reduced repeat blood tests in inpatients by 30% across multiple departments.”
Health website Croakey reported that Eastern Health, which runs seven public hospitals and a range of community health facilities in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, had introduced a project called NUTS (“No Unnecessary Tests).
According to the NUTS presentation to the meeting, the program has delivered nearly a 50% overall cut in testing – or a reduction of 40,000 tests a year – across its three Emergency Departments. It achieved that by targeting five high frequency low value pathology tests and two scans for pulmonary embolisms that are high cost, time consuming and involve considerable patient radiation exposure.
Dr Weeks said the Choosing Wisely Australia campaign had demonstrated strong early results in its first two years.
“This reinforces the long-term potential of Choosing Wisely to significantly change the mindsets and behaviours of health professionals and patients – to successfully challenge the notion that ‘more is better’ when it comes to managing a person’s health,” she said.
“Choosing Wisely Australia aims to improve conversations between clinicians and consumers about unnecessary and potentially harmful health care. It is helping people increase their confidence in asking their health professionals the right questions about their health care, to ensure they are getting the most appropriate care for them.”
- Read Dr Matthew Anstey’s blog: Choosing Wisely Australia – what lessons can we learn from the US?
- Visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website