Patient Engagement in Low Value Care – Inform

This technical assistance package aims to provide insights and tools to implement patient engagement around overuse in your organization. Use all four components or focus on one element. Each section is broken into  sections by time commitment:

  • If you have five minutes, check out our top five insights from each area.
  • If you have twenty minutes, read sample scripts, review tools or listen to a short podcast.
  • If you have an hour to dedicate, read the source journal articles, watch a webinar or join our learning network to connect with others.

If you have 5 minutes …

Five Things to Consider when communicating with patients to reduce low-value care:

Build overuse conversations into practice workflows and use a team approach: Consider building processes into your practice workflows to set expectations about tests and treatments that are too frequently used and involve your care team, so patients hear the Choosing Wisely message in multiple ways from multiple people.

Address both low-value and high-value care opportunities:  Some patient populations understandably have concerns that decreasing even low-value care could be a risk for withholding needed care; to build trust, remember to encourage evidence-based, high-value care (e.g. USPSTF preventive care) while also stressing the importance of reducing low-value care.

Use your communications team:  Incorporate the 5 Questions and messages about overuse into general communications to patients. Reinforce your message with posters, decision aids and additional patient-centered materials.

Don’t be afraid to ask:  Financial costs of health care tests and treatments, particularly low-value care, can have significant impacts on patient care and outcomes. Studies have shown that many patients are reluctant to mention their difficulty paying for health care, but appreciate it when their provider asks about their concerns. Patients are acutely aware of both the direct and indirect costs of medical tests and treatments, including lost income from time missed from work, transportation, and child care.

Find opportunities to help patients understand what information sources are trustworthy and how they can find information to help make health decisions: Patient focus groups tell us that many patients trust their own research most but often find information with a wide range of evidential support. Providing disease or condition information from trusted sources and helping patients better understand how to evaluate evidence should improve your communication.

If you have 20 minutes…



  •  Physician Communication Modules: Drexel University College of Medicine developed this set of interactive instructional modules to enhance physician-patient communication when implementing Choosing Wisely specialty society recommendations.


If you have sixty minutes…




  • Listen to “Conversations on Medical Overuse,” a set of 3 podcasts developed by Health Partners that provide examples of a simple clinician-patient conversation, a complicated conversation, and a polarized conversation, that illustrate optimal approaches to conversations on overuse.