Doctors of BC

Doctors of BC

April 02, 2014 12:00 ET

New Tools to Help Doctors and Their Patients Make Smart Choices

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 2, 2014) - A new initiative rolling out today suggests tests and procedures frequently ordered by doctors are not always necessary to provide patients with the best healthcare. Doctors of BC strongly supports the recommendation from Choosing Wisely Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Medical Association, that doctors and patients discuss the necessity of certain tests, treatments and procedures ahead of time so that smart choices can be made.

This physician led initiative, which began in the US and has now reached into Canada as well as a number of other countries, is about changing the culture of doctors and patients, engaging in conversations about the necessity of certain tests, and ultimately to further improve care to patients.

In this first phase, *national specialty societies each compiled lists of five things that doctors and patients should question for which there is strong evidence that their use may be unnecessary, does not add value to patients, or may even be harmful. For patients, a series of pamphlets has been developed that explain in plain language the evidence behind ordering, or not ordering, particular tests or treatments.

"As doctors we order medical tests and other treatments for our patients because we want to provide them with the best care. But actually this puts us in a great position to really take a look at and discuss with our patients the pros and cons of each," says Dr William Cunningham, president of Doctors of BC. "I believe in the adage that just because we can, doesn't mean we should... that sometimes doing so can put patients' health at risk. We need to make smart choices together."

The next time you see your doctor to pick up an antibiotic for a sinus infection, you might instead have a frank discussion about whether it's really necessary and the potential harms of taking it when the evidence suggests otherwise. The same goes for bone density tests, electrocardiograms, imaging tests for lower back pain, among others.

Later in the year another 20 national specialty societies will be releasing their lists of often ordered tests, procedures and treatments that ought to be questioned. More information can be found on the Choosing Wisely Canada website.

*National Specialty Societies:

Canadian Association of General Surgeons
Canadian Association of Radiologists
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Canadian Geriatrics Society
CMA Forum on General and Family Practice Issues
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Rheumatology Association
Canadian Society of Internal Medicine
College of Family Physicians of Canada

Contact Information

  • Doctors of BC
    Sharon Shore
    Senior Manager Communications and Media Relations
    604-638-2832 or 604-306-1866 (pager)