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Doctors and Patients Choosing Wisely, Together

Nova Scotia doctors have invited government, patient advocates, patients, and other health-care providers to Nova Scotia’s first-ever Choosing Wisely: Value Added Care event, to discuss the need—or lack thereof—for many frequently ordered medical tests and treatments.

The event, sponsored by Doctors Nova Scotia in conjunction with Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine, the Capital District Health Authority, and the IWK Health Centre, provides an opportunity for physicians, patients and other health care stakeholders to think and talk about medical tests and procedures that may be unnecessary, and in some instances can cause harm.

The goal of the event is to introduce Choosing Wisely®, an initiative to improve communication between physicians and patients on what is the best course of care. As part of a larger Canadian movement, this is the first time Nova Scotia’s health care community is exploring the concept.

Physicians have a significant role to play in ensuring that Nova Scotians receive appropriate care and health care resources are used wisely. Doctors are the individuals who order and complete most medical tests and treatments. This means doctors are positioned to have a big impact on patient care and to reduce the strain on our health care system. But in order to do this successfully, they need the support and expertise of health-care partners such as government, patients, and other health-care practitioners.

Following in the lead of the Canadian Medical Association and other provincial medical associations, Doctors Nova Scotia is focused on moving the Choosing Wisely® concept forward in the province.

Choosing Wisely® began in the United States by the not-for-profit ABIM Foundation, established by the American Board of Internal Medicine in 1999 to advance medical professionalism and physician leadership in quality assessment and improvement.

Choosing Wisely® aims to promote conversations between physicians and patients by helping patients choose care that is:

Physicians sometimes order tests and treatments that aren’t necessary, either because the patient insists, or because the physician doesn’t fully understand the broader impact of excessive testing. Unnecessary tests and treatments don’t always benefit the patient.

With an aging population and high rates of chronic disease, physicians in Nova Scotia are ready to take action to transform the province’s health-care system.

There are many reasons why health transformation is important, but primarily to improve patient care and to reduce the strain on our health care system.

The goal of this event is for physicians to get in the same room with key health partners and begin this important discussion. Physicians together with the support and expertise of government, patient advocates, patients, and other health-care providers, will share ideas that will help Doctors Nova Scotia develop a well-rounded strategy.

This is a great jumping-off point as we continue to work to improve care delivery, health outcomes and build a more sustainable health care system in Nova Scotia.

Follow the discussion on Twitter by following @Doctors_NS and #ChoosingWisely