New ABIM Foundation Grantees Will Focus on Reducing Overuse of Tests and Treatments Identified by Choosing Wisely Foundation

The ABIM Foundation announced its second round of grants for its Choosing Wisely campaign. The ABIM launched Choosing Wisely with a goal of advancing a national dialogue on avoiding unnecessary medical tests, treatments, and procedures.

The grant program, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will bring together health care organizations from across the country that have built strong multistakeholder alliances to focus on implementation of at least three Choosing Wisely recommendations, including working toward reducing the use of antibiotics for viral infections by at least 20 percent over nearly three years at participating health systems, hospitals and medical groups in their regions.

Launched in April 2012, Choosing Wisely encourages clinicians and patients to discuss which medical tests and procedures may be unnecessary for their condition, and in some instances, can cause harm. To date, more than 100 national, regional and state medical specialty societies, health collaboratives and consumer groups have released more than 70 lists of tests or procedures they say are overused or inappropriate in their specialty, and that clinicians and patients should discuss.

The grantees each also choose at least two other Choosing Wisely recommendations to focus on, from the list of test and procedures Choosing Wisely recommends be scaled back, such as reducing imaging for low-back pain and reducing prescriptions for benzodiazepines for adults 60 and over.

The Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality is a grantee that will work to spread the Choosing Wisely message. May Riordan, the organization’s director of member and community engagement, discuss how patient expectations can stand in the way of physicians implementing Choosing Wisely goals in a recent HealthLeaders Media article.

“A lot of patients have a cold, and they think they will rush in right away and get an antibiotic,” she says, adding that the first round of their work helped physicians open up dialogue with patients about making the right healthcare choices. “Physicians are not just prescribing willy-nilly.”

The article points out the predicament it may create for physicians who have limited time during each visit and want their patients to feel satisfied. Considering in most cases a patient takes time off out of their busy work schedule and pays a co-pay to see a physician when they don’t feel well, they expect to leave the waiting room with answers.

The help educate all parties involved, campaign partner Consumer Reports has also produced a number of patient-friendly resources about antibiotic overuse that are publicly available on its online ‘antibiotics hub’, which includes tools and resources covering a variety of situations patients may encounter.

“The Choosing Wisely campaign has been a leading light among efforts to arm patients and clinicians with the resources they need to have meaningful conversations about what tests or treatments are truly needed, and when,” said Susan Mende in a statement, BSN, MPH, senior program officer at RWJF. “Engaging and empowering patients to be active participants in their health care is a critical element of achieving a national Culture of Health in America.”

The seven initiatives will each receive a grant of $315,000 to advance Choosing Wisely and include:

Greater Detroit Area Health Council

Integrated Healthcare Association

Maine Quality Counts

North Carolina Healthcare Quality Alliance

UCLA Department of Medicine

Washington Health Alliance

Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality

You can learn more about the Choosing Wisely campaign and the ABIM Foundation here.