Sunday, March 03, 2013


We’re still somewhat short of being serious about reducing the cost of health care.  

The February 25 issue of Modern Healthcare included an article about a program called Choosing Wisely “a multi-specialty initiative created to curb overuse of healthcare.”  Sponsored by the Washington-based ABIM foundation, Choosing Wisely has been requesting various professional medical societies to provide lists of “five commonly ordered but usually unnecessary – and sometimes harmful - tests and procedures, based on available evidence.”   

On February 21 the program issued a list of 90 such items which, when added to a list issued last April, brings the complete list such “potentially unnecessary tests and procedures” identified to date to a total of 135. 

The article pointed out that it is difficult to determine the extent to which the Choosing Wisely effort is affecting what doctors actually do in their daily practice. 

All this is fine, but progress will be slow as long as we depend on national organizations coming up with suggestions and then waiting for them to be adopted by practitioners. 

How much more rapid progress would be if, instead, the hundreds of patient care organizations across the country were all diligently engaged in finding ways to reduce cost while improving care.  We need to be searching for ways to make that happen.

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