The mission of the  ABIM Foundation is to "advance medical professionalism to improve the healthcare system."  In 2012, the ABIM Foundation joined with nine leading medical specialty groups, as well as Consumer Reports, to announce lists and tests and procedures that physicians and patients should talk about as part of  the Choosing Wisely Campaign. 

Choosing Wisely focuses on discussions between doctor and patient concerning the overuse or misuse of medical testing and screening.  Each of the partner organizations contributed a list of five common tests or screening procedures in their specialty that according to clinical guidelines and evidence, their necessity could and should be questioned.

As an example, here is the list from The American Academy of Family Physicians:

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In order to help patients make informed decisions and be prepared to engage in conversations with their physicians, Consumer Reports has developed patient-friendly informational aids and is working to distribute them widely.

As an example, here is the introduction from the Consumer Reports aid on Sinusitis:

"Treating Sinusitis: Don't Rush to Antibiotics

Millions of people each year are prescribed antibiotics for sinusitis, a frequent complication of the common cold, hay fever, and other respiratory allergies. In fact, 15 to 21 percent of all antibiotic prescriptions for adults in outpatient care are for treating sinus- itis. Unfortunately, most of those people prob- ably don’t need the drugs. Here’s why.

The drugs usually don’t help
Sinusitis can be uncomfortable. People with the condition usually have congestion combined with yellow, green, or gray nasal discharge plus pain or pressure around the eyes, cheeks, fore- head, or teeth that worsens when they bend over. But sinus infections almost always stem from a viral infection, not a bacterial one—and anti- biotics don’t work against viruses. Even when bacteria are responsible, the infections usually clear up on their own in a week or so. And anti- biotics don’t help ease allergies, either."

The report goes on to suggest treatment of sinusitis and advice on when antibiotics are helpful.

Many of these reports are available in an Easy-Read format and in Spanish.

And often, there is a video format available such as this video on sinusitis:

And a great little summary of it all from Consumer Reports:

Choosing Wisely collection: When to say 'Whoa!' to doctors

Empower Yourself and check out the Choosing Wisely and the Consumer Reports websites; these guys have got it right!

If you like this post, please read other posts in the series on the Person-Centered HealthCare main page.

And if you have a story to tell that may be a fit with our series, please comment below or email me at joan@socialmediatoday.com