Healthcare is an ever developing and advancing industry with new tests, procedures, and recommendations coming each year. While these advancements can mean new, life-saving treatments are available, there are also risks for inundating providers and patients with a bevy of tests, procedures, and treatments that may or may not be necessary. In a 2014 study, nearly three-quarters of physicians polled said the frequency of unnecessary tests and procedures is a serious problem, with the average physician prescribing at least one avoidable test or procedure a week – sometimes at the request of the patient.
Unnecessary testing and procedures not only burden healthcare providers, but expose patients to avoidable side effects and risks stemming from those tests and procedures, i.e. radiation exposure from unnecessary imaging. These inappropriate practices also serve to drive up healthcare costs, from patients’ direct out-of-pocket expenses to total costs of care.
Ensuring that clinicians are up-to-date on the latest recommendations for testing, as well as engaging patients in conversations about appropriate testing and treatments are key strategies for ensuring that providers and patients are able to make decisions about what is appropriate and necessary for their medical condition, history, and goals.
The Compass PTN aims to reduce unnecessary testing in the following targeted areas:
Reduce unnecessary imaging studies (plain x-ray, MRI, CT scan) for patients with low back pain by 7%
Reduce unnecessary CT or MRI imaging studies within 30 days for patients with primary diagnosis of syncope by 2%
Reduce the percentage of CT or MRI imaging studies within 30 days for patients with primary diagnosis related to headache by 2%
Reduce the percentage of CT or MRI imaging studies within 30 days for patients with primary diagnosis related to minor head injury by 2%
Reduce the percentage of CT imaging within 30 days for patients with primary diagnosis related to acute sinusitis by 2%
Best Practice Guide
Action Manual: Integrating Choosing Wisely Recommendations into Practice (PDF)
This document, developed by the Washington State Choosing Wisely Task Force, discusses how to integrate the Choosing Wisely recommendations into practice utilizing Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change. Each of the 8 steps is outlined and has multiple links to other resources including resources for patient education, staff education, articles, and more.
Choosing Wisely Clinical Toolkit for Consumer Engagement (Link)
This toolkit, developed by the Washington State Choosing Wisely Task Force, has links to resources to help educate consumers who utilize primary care, specialty care, and school-based clinics.