Do you really need that test? When it comes to health care, “more is not always better.” This is one of the main messages from Choosing Wisely, the national voice for reducing unnecessary tests and treatments in health care.
In Ontario, five of the Joint Centres hospitals (a partnership of community hospitals focused on collaboration and sharing to improve quality, safety and performance in health care) have been spreading the successful implementation of different Choosing Wisely projects with the support of the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario and Health Quality Ontario's Adopting Research to Improve Care (ARTIC) program. Together, Markham Stouffville Hospital, Michael Garron Hospital, North York General Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and St. Joseph's Health Centre have adopted changes that have resulted in the successful reduction of tests and treatments.
To highlight the progress we're making with Choosing Wisely, the Joint Centres have two new videos to add to their series.
Choosing Wisely is based on evidence that shows both patients and health care professionals have a responsibility to learn when a particular test or treatment is necessary or not. Encouraging physicians and patients to engage in a dialogue about necessary tests and treatments is the best way to achieve a shared understanding of how proper testing can lead to accurate results and more targeted/successful treatment.
Whether you are a provider or a patient, it's important to start the conversation by asking: 1. Do I really need this test, treatment or procedure? What are the downsides? Are there simpler, safer options, what happens if I do nothing?
Watch Barb Sklar, a NYGH Patient and Family Advisor and Manuel Giraldo, Lab Manager discuss how we've implemented Choosing Wisely in our emergency department (ED) - an area of the hospital where many tests are ordered to help diagnose patients and determine the treatment they need. At North York General, Choosing Wisely has led to a review of the tests and routine blood work that was typically ordered in the ED which has resulted in a reduction in unnecessary tests and ensures the ones we are using provide valuable information to clinicians.
In our second video, pharmacist Monica Lee and Leela Prasad, Patient and Family Advisor, discuss the importance of asking if there are simpler, safer options to taking medication. Speaking with a pharmacist can help you better understand the medications you are being prescribed and if there are safer alternatives.