In October, the Washington State Choosing Wisely Task Force welcomed about 180 people — physicians, clinicians, patient advocates, administrators, IT workers and other stakeholders — from across the region, other states and Canada to the Choosing Wisely Summit.
Organizers Jessica Martinson, of the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), and Teresa Litton, of the Washington Health Alliance (the Alliance), said the Summit was designed to foster collaboration around measurement and implementation strategies. Breakout sessions focused on applying interventions in different practice settings, leveraging electronic medical records (EMRs), measuring performance and improving communication skills.
Since attending, many participants have started to look into these ideas using tools the Task Force developed, including a Choosing Wisely Action Manual. Attendees were also encouraged to draft an implementation plan and pledge to take steps to implement Choosing Wisely across their organization.
“We are launching a webpage where people can take the pledge online,” Martinson said. “The Summit showed that there is a great deal of enthusiasm about developing tools and working together to increase the impact of Choosing Wisely.”
Participants were also asked to name two or three things that they could change after returning to their office, which aligns with the Task Force’s “change three things” strategy. Attendees noted that they were inspired to talk about Choosing Wisely with patients and other health care team members and utilize Consumer Reports materials to raise awareness about overuse. And many listed strategies they would work to implement, including running reports to determine what tests might be overused, embedding Choosing Wisely recommendations in their EMRs and incorporating the campaign into quality measures.
A 2013 grant from the ABIM Foundation allowed the Alliance and WSMA, in partnership with the Washington State Hospital Association, to align efforts to reduce waste and overuse in health care across the state by forming a Task Force of 22 physician leaders. Through additional funding in 2015, the Task Force, representing various settings in rural and urban areas, decided to focus on three things from Choosing Wisely recommendations:
“There are so many Choosing Wisely recommendations that we wanted to give people an easier entry point. If they start by focusing on three recommendations and incorporate the broad Choosing Wisely principles into their practice, they will go further,” Martinson said.
As the Task Force continues to focus on how to meaningfully measure this important work, it is developing resource toolkits for clinical workflows and patient experience in primary care, surgical, radiology and urgent care settings. This work will continue through 2016.