Despite retiring from administrative practice in 2013, Stanley Schwartz, MD, continues his work to improve the health of his community through Choosing Wisely®.
Dr. Schwartz, who practiced internal medicine for 28 years in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and then served as medical director for an area clinic for the next 10 years, saw how the campaign inspired cooperation.
“I can’t overemphasize the value Choosing Wisely brought to the collaboration between primary care physicians and specialists when coordinating patient care,” he said. “Having the recommendations available when doctors sat down together was powerful and created a platform for meaningful discussion. That collaboration became a useful model that was copied by others.”
As President and CEO of WellOK—the Northeastern Oklahoma Business Coalition on Health—Dr. Schwartz is connecting the medical and business communities to promote high-value care to employers and employees.
Late last year, WellOK partnered with Consumer Reports to help promote the Choosing Wisely campaign. The coalition is working with 16 businesses to introduce Choosing Wisely to their employees through the “5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before You Get Any Test, Treatment, or Procedure” brochure.
“We want employers to provide health care information that is transparent on quality and cost and is forthright about evidence-based medicine,” he said.
Dr. Schwartz said the businesses can highlight certain Choosing Wisely recommendations and tailor conversations and materials to different employee populations. For example, younger workers might want to learn about recommendations related to pregnancy, and older employees might find recommendations on diabetes to be helpful.
“A consumer might not know the right language to talk with their doctor about different tests and procedures,” Dr. Schwartz said. “That is where Choosing Wisely comes in. The campaign helps people, especially those whose medical literacy is challenged, have conversations. It gives them at least five key questions to ask their physician.” He added that he finds the questions personally helpful when seeing his own doctor.
WellOK has helped educate patients by working with Consumer Reports to provide businesses with Choosing Wisely posters to hang in break rooms; literature from the Choosing Wisely library to send to employees; and microsites to which HR departments can direct employees and family members to access information about the campaign.
Dr. Schwartz said that it’s still too early to track success, but he is optimistic that their efforts will make a difference.
“Employees are responding positively to the posters and materials,” he said. “There are important discussions happening in the workplace, which we are confident will continue in the doctor’s office.”