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These Two Questions can save you from Unnecessary and Risky Medical Treatments

Did you know that some tests and treatments are unnecessary? Some even expose patients to risk. Incorrect or inconclusive results can lead to more needless tests or even surgery.So, how can you ensure this doesn’t happen to you? Talk to your doctor.

It sounds too simple, but it’s true. Being upfront with your doctor about your choices can change the course of treatment you receive – often for the better.

Think about it. Have you ever asked, “Do I really need this?” when your doctor has suggested a test? Or, “What are the risks?”

Make choices together

There’s plenty that doctors and patients can do to make things better. The best place to start is by having a frank conversation about your issue when you discuss the pros and cons of every option, including doing nothing.

That’s the thinking behind Choosing Wisely Nova Scotia (CWNS) – a program that Doctors Nova Scotia and Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine have teamed up to launch.

Part of a national campaign, the program encourages doctors and patients to make decisions together and discuss the potential harms of unnecessary treatments or tests from the beginning. The point is to choose the correct care, at the right time, for the best outcome.

The program gives doctors evidence-based recommendations and focuses on areas where research shows that a test, treatment or procedure is overused and offers little or no patient benefit.

More is not always better

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canadians have more than one million potentially unnecessary medical tests and treatments every year.

Unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures do not help patients. They potentially expose patients to harm, lead to more testing to investigate false positives, cause stress for patients and their families, and increase the wait time for people who need the treatment.

Join the discussion

To mark the launch of Choosing Wisely Nova Scotia (CWNS), Doctors Nova Scotia and Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine are holding a free public panel with the doctors leading the program. Join us on Thursday, Nov. 30, from 5 to 6 p.m. in Room 100 at the Halifax Convention Centre, 1800 Argyle Street. Click here for more details.

Mary Jane Hampton, health-care consultant and commentator, will be moderating the discussion. Panelists will include Drs. Constance LeBlanc (co-chair of CWNS), Samuel Campbell (champion of CWNS and chief of Charles V. Keating Emergency and Trauma Centre), Lisa Bonang (family physician), Wendy Levinson (Choosing Wisely Canada), Ms. Denice Klavano (patient advocate), and Mr. Ameer Jarrar (medical student).

This is an opportunity to learn more about this exciting program, and to hear directly from doctors and patients about their experiences, and see how you can have a conversation about Choosing Wisely with your doctor.

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