April 2019 marks the seventh anniversary of the ABIM Foundation’s announcement of the Choosing Wisely campaign to promote greater conversation between physicians and patients about appropriate care. In 2012, the Foundation was joined by nine specialty societies in launching a physician-led movement to reduce unnecessary health care.
By 2014, more than 60 specialty societies had come onboard as well, generating more than 220 recommendations regarding unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures. With such overwhelmingly positive support, the Foundation decided to create a monthly e-newsletter to share the latest news, updates and best practices from organization around the country that were implementing core components of the campaign. The newsletter, “Updates from the Field,” has drawn widespread interest as well, growing from an initial base of 511 subscribers to a circulation of more than 7,500 over time.
In recognition of our seventh year, here are a few highlights from the Choosing Wisely e-newsletter archives.
From the inaugural February 2014 issue, the most clicked article was about a new series of online continuing medical education courses on high-value care developed by the American College of Physicians that supported the tenets of the Choosing Wisely campaign. ACP was among the first grantees in the education and awareness phase, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Also noteworthy in that issue: For the second straight year, the Choosing Wisely campaign was featured by Medscape in “The Year in Medicine: News That Made a Difference,” and HealthLeaders Media named Choosing Wisely as one of its top health care buzzwords to watch in 2014.
By our October 2014 issue, we had four times as many readers and two of the most clicked on stories were about Fletcher Allen Health Care in Vermont and its efforts to mount a grassroots approach to integrating the campaign into its operations, and the addition of non-medical societies such as the American Physical Therapy Association to the campaign.
One of the most-read newsletters of 2015 was the February issue, which featured Dr. Jorge Plasencia, a solo family practitioner in Saginaw, Michigan who was inspired to share the Choosing Wisely message and patient brochures in his office after listening to NPR on his commute to his office.
“Updates from the Field” was reaching 5,000 subscribers by its May 2016 issue, and among the most popular stories that month was the recognition of one of the first Choosing Wisely Champions, chosen by the American Geriatrics Society. Announced earlier in the year, the Champions program was an initiative to recognize clinicians who were leading efforts to reduce overuse in clinical practice.
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the ABIM Foundation provided a second round of grants focused on a community collaborative approach to the implementation of recommendations. Our January 2017 issue featured LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, one of the grantees, where clinicians achieved some eye-opening results when they instituted new protocols for pre-testing for cataract surgery. Also that year, our March issue highlighted the efforts of the Connecticut Choosing Wisely Collaborative to make Choosing Wisely more accessible to historically underserved populations.
In the August 2018 issue, the first cohort of medical students in the Choosing Wisely STARS program (Students and Trainees Advocating for Resource Stewardship), organized by Costs of Care and the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, Austin, reported on their efforts to educate their teachers and peers about the campaign and integrate its lessons into their curriculum and activities. Other notable stories for 2018 focused on the unique challenges of bringing Choosing Wisely to rural communities.
So far this year, we’ve explored how Choosing Wisely has dovetailed with growing efforts to promote high-value care such as the American College of Radiology’s R-SCAN tool, system-wide clinical practice change at Kaiser Permanente Georgia, and new achievable benchmarks of care for a specific set of pediatric hospitals.