- About the campaign
- Campaign brochures
- Campaign videos
- Physician partners
- Choosing Wisely grantees
About the Choosing Wisely campaign
Consumer Reports offers more than 70 Choosing Wisely brochures for patients.
Patients sometimes ask for tests and treatments that are not necessarily in their best interest. And physicians often struggle with decisions about prescribing tests and procedures as a way of covering all possible bases,. So the ABIM Foundation has joined with leading medical specialty societies to develop evidence-based lists of tests and procedures for patients and physicians to question as part of Choosing Wisely®.
The goal: to help physicians, patients and other health care stakeholders think and talk about overuse of health care resources in the United States. The campaign is part of the ABIM Foundation’s goal of promoting wise choices by clinicians in order to improve health care outcomes, provide patient-centered care that avoids unnecessary and even harmful interventions, and reduce the rapidly-expanding costs of the health care system.
Consumer Reports has joined the Choosing Wisely® campaign to provide resources for consumers and physicians to engage in these important conversations about the overuse or misuse of medical tests and procedures that provide little benefit and in some cases harm. Consumer Reports is excited to be able to reach millions of consumers with important health care information in its role as the “consumer communicator” in the campaign.
More than 60 specialty societies have joined the campaign since its inception in 2012. New lists will continue to be published through 2014.
Here is a single PDF containing the complete list of Choosing Wisely recommendations.
Choosing Wisely campaign brochures
Consumer Reports creates consumer resources based on many of the Choosing Wisely topics. The titles below connect to our growing catalog of brochures.
- Some tests and treatments won’t help older adults. They may even be harmful, especially near the end of life.
- If you don’t have symptoms or a medical evaluation that points to allergy, think twice about skin or blood tests.
- If you're having memory problems, your doctor should look for other causes before ordering a brain scan.
- In most cases of middle ear infection, antibiotics are not needed. Here's what to do instead.
- Antibiotic eye drops or ointments don’t usually help with conjunctivitis. In fact, they can do more harm than good.
- Antibiotics don’t help most respiratory infections. Here’s when you need antibiotics, and when you don't.
- Most of the time, children don't need antibiotics for sore throat, cough or runny nose.
- Many older people get antibiotic treatment for urinary tract infections when they don't need it.
- There are risks to using antibiotics needlessly on your skin. And there are better ways to control eczema and help your skin heal.
- When and how to use antibiotics to help you and your loved ones avoid drug resistance.
- Do you really need antibiotics? They can help you. But they also can harm you.
- Powerful antipsychotic drugs should not be the first choice for people with dementia. Here's why.
- You may not need some common forms of imaging, screening tests, monitoring and drug therapy for cancer.
- Studies show that staying in bed longer than 48 hours won’t help with lower-back pain.
- Blood tests for thrombophilia often are not needed, even if you have had a pregnancy problem.
- In the hospital, if your blood test results stay the same after a day or two, you may not need them again.
- Anemia is usually not urgent. Usually you don’t need a lot of blood. Or you may not need any blood at all.
- If you’re not at higher risk for weak bones, you should think twice about the bone-density test. Here’s why.
- Brain scans are usually not helpful for a concussion.
- In contrast with surgical or "open" biopsy, a needle biopsy is easier on the body.
- Some tests, treatments, and procedures are not only unnecessary, they can even prove harmful.
- In some cases, especially in healthy people without chest pain, you should be cautious about the tests.
- Although it is hard to accept, the best thing for you may be to stop treatment for the cancer.
- Having some blockage in a carotid artery doesn't automatically mean you should have artery-clearing surgery.
- If you don’t have signs or symptoms of heart or lung disease, think twice about having a pre-operative X-ray.
- If you are age 75 or older and you haven’t had symptoms of heart disease, statins may be a bad idea.
- CMR is an imaging test for heart disease. But it may not be the best test for you.
- Even a very good test can be done too often.
- For children with head injuries, a CT scan often is not needed.
- The CT scan, used to look for early signs of lung cancer, is not useful for many smokers.
- It's not necessary to replace fillings that contain mercury.
- Research shows that most people don't benefit from taking supplements to prevent heart disease or cancer.
- Think twice about treating migraine attacks with opioids or butalbital.
- The older, "non-biologic" drugs are a better first choice for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
- When do you need CSFs? When don't you need them?
- To hurry a baby’s birth can increase the risk of serious problems for both you and your baby.
- If you’re having surgery, you may wonder if you need an echocardiogram first.
- When do you need an echocardiogram?
- Sometimes the echocardiogram imaging test is done very soon after heart valve surgery, while you are still in the hospital. Usually that's not useful.
- EKGs or exercise stress tests usually aren't necessary for people without symptoms.
- Feeding tubes sometimes do more harm than good. Here’s why.
- Five common physical therapy treatments can lead to harm, more tests, and greater costs.
- You probably don't need that yearly checkup. In fact, it can do more harm than good.
- If you’re having surgery, you may wonder if you need a heart imaging test first to make sure it is safe.
- Stress tests usually aren’t helpful if you don’t have heart problems.
- If you don't have heart problems, you probably don't need a heart test before an operation.
- Home apnea monitors give little or no protection from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
- Many people who use long-term home oxygen therapy don’t need it.
- The American Academy of Nursing has identified four hospital practices that are usually unnecessary and may harm you.
- When do cancer experts recommend imaging tests and tumor marker tests?
- If you’ve had bypass surgery or a stent inserted to open a blocked artery, do you need regular imaging tests?
- It seems like getting an X-ray, CT scan or MRI to find the cause would be a good idea.
- It's not always a good idea to get all the tests that are available. You may not need them.
- Many with severe headaches want a CT scan or MRI to see if they have a tumor or other serious problem.
- If you are a healthy person without symptoms, you should think twice about having these tests.
- Repetitive ultrasound exams may not be necessary.
- Some people receive the treatment even though they don’t need it.
- An ICD helps the heart beat normally. But if you are near death, those shocks can make things worse.
- Here are four important tests and treatments you should carefully discuss with your family and doctor
- Most healthy people don't need blood or urine tests done before surgery, especially low-risk surgery. Here's why.
- There are two blood tests for Lyme disease, but usually you don't need them. Here's why.
- Sometimes a genetic test is not the best way to find an inherited condition or disease risk.
- Most women don’t need mammograms before elective breast surgery.
- Most people don't need to have their blood tested or their heart checked before they have eye surgery. Here's why.
- Often, pre-operative tests are not necessary. It is not a good idea to get them just because you’re having surgery.
- Opioids (narcotics) usually are not the best way to treat long-term pain like arthritis, back pain or headaches.
- Drugs used to treat cancer can also cause harm, and some are very expensive. Here's what to discuss with your doctor.
- During labor and birth, the type of fetal heart rate monitoring called IA, for intermittent auscultation, is often the better choice.
- If the symptoms are severe or continue for a while, you may need an electrodiagnostic test.
- Sometimes antibiotic eardrops are safer and more effective than oral antibiotics.
- If you suffer from high blood pressure, heart failure, or kidney disease, steer clear of some pain relievers.
- With palliative care, you can get physical, emotional, and spiritual support at any stage of a serious illness.
- Many teenage girls and some women have the test when they don’t need it. Here’s why.
- You usually don’t need a Pap test and pelvic exam before getting birth control pills.
- If you've been treated for cancer, you may not need PET scans to check for a return of the cancer.
- Watch out for two overused hospital medical practices, urinary catheters and ulcer drugs.
- Anti-seizure medicine is not usually necessary after an ischemic stroke.
- The PSA screening test is widely used, but often is not needed.
- Radiation therapy can help treat cancer and the painful symptoms from tumors. But it's not always needed.
- When it comes to radiation therapy, sometimes less is more. Use this advice to start a conversation with your doctor about the benefits and risks.
- Here is advice for talking with your doctor about whether to use radiation as part of cancer treatment.
- Screening healthy people for weak areas in the brain's blood vessels can do more harm than good.
- Ultrasound and the CA-125 blood test are not useful for screening low-risk women for ovarian cancer.
- It’s important to know which tests you need, and how often you need them.
- If you have breast cancer, there is a newer, simpler surgery to check your lymph nodes.
- Sleep drugs aren’t made for children. There are no prescription drugs approved in the U.S. to treat childhood insomnia.
- Sleeping pills are often not the best option for insomnia. Here's what you need to know.
- Older adults usually should try other non-drug treatments first, for insomnia and anxiety.
- Many people who need the test don’t receive it.
- You may not need an angiogram if your heart disease is stable. Here's why.
- Stress tests usually aren’t helpful after a stent procedure, unless you have symptoms of heart disease.
- Unless you're experiencing symptoms, this test usually isn't helpful in the first few years after heart bypass surgery or a stent procedure.
- If you’re having surgery, you will probably not need a heart stress test beforehand if you are healthy, active, and feeling well, or if you’re having minor surgery.
- If you’re at low risk for having a heart problem, even if you have symptoms, you usually don’t need this imaging test.
- The popular supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate do not help relieve arthritic knees.
- Unless you have other symptoms of low testosterone, you should think twice about the treatment. Here's why.
- Employers should consider these guidelines when sending workers or job candidates to the doctor.
- Before heart surgery, you probably don't need a breathing test or carotid ultrasound test, unless you have breathing problems or symptoms.
- If you have a deep blood clot, you probably don't need a device called an IVC filter. They don't work better than blood-thinning drugs.
- Most people with Peripheral Artery Disease won't benefit from surgery or angioplasty.
- It is easy to use too much pain medicine. This can make headaches worse and cause other medical problems.
- In most cases of heartburn a PPI isn't necessary.
- If you have prostate cancer, but it poses a low risk to you, consider "watchful waiting."
- Some doctors recommend surgery. But that can lead to complications, and it doesn’t always work.
- Millions of people are prescribed antibiotics each year for sinusitis.
- Millions of people are prescribed antibiotics each year for sinusitis.
- If you have insomnia, antipsychotic drugs should not be the first choice of treatment.
- Three procedures commonly used in the emergency room are unnecessary in many cases.
- Older adults are often tested for UTIs. But if you don’t have symptoms, the tests are not very useful.
- There are several common vision tests and procedures that many children do not need.
- Doctors often order a blood test to measure your vitamin D, but the results are unlikely to change their advice.
- No medical society recommends whole-body scans. There is no evidence that they are a good screening tool.
- A guide to common tests and treatments you probably don't need.
Consumer Reports has created about a dozen videos about the Choosing Wisely campaign and about its popular topics. We urge you to share them with anyone who could use this information.
Here are some examples:
Organizations of physicians and other providers participating in Choosing Wisely® include:
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
- American Academy of Clinical Toxicology
- American Academy of Dermatology
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
- American Academy of Neurology
- American Academy of Nursing
- American Academy of Ophthalmology
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
- American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine
- American Association of Blood Banks
- American Association of Neurological Surgeons
- American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
- American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
- American College of Cardiology
- American College of Chest Physicians
- American College of Emergency Physicians
- American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics
- American College of Medical Toxicology
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
- American College of Physicians
- American College of Preventive Medicine
- American College of Radiology
- American College of Rheumatology
- American College of Surgeons
- American Dental Association
- American Gastroenterological Association
- American Geriatrics Society
- American Headache Society
- AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
- American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
- American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
- American Physical Therapy Association
- American Psychiatric Association
- American Society of Anesthesiologists
- American Society of Clinical Oncology
- American Society for Clinical Pathology
- American Society of Echocardiography
- American Society of Hematology
- American Society of Nephrology
- American Society of Nuclear Cardiology
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- American Society for Radiation Oncology
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine
- American Thoracic Society
- American Urogynecologic Society
- American Urological Association
- Commission on Cancer
- Congress of Neurological Surgeons
- Endocrine Society
- Heart Rhythm Society
- Infectious Diseases Society of America
- National Physicians Alliance
- North American Spine Society
- Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
- Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography
- Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
- Society of Critical Care Medicine
- Society of General Internal Medicine
- Society of Gynecologic Oncology
- Society of Hospital Medicine
- Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
- Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
- Society of Thoracic Surgeons
- Society for Vascular Medicine
Here is the full updated list of specialty medical society partners.
Choosing Wisely grantees
In spring 2015, the ABIM Foundation — with continued funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) — awarded a second round of grants to organizations that promote the goals of the Choosing Wisely campaign.
These new grants support seven initiatives focused on reducing utilization of inappropriate tests and treatments. Each initiative includes delivery systems, hospitals and/or medical groups collaborating with multi-stakeholder community-based groups and physician-led organizations.
Greater Detroit Area Health Council
The Greater Detroit Area Health Council (GDAHC) has 70 years of experience leading multi-stakeholder projects on health care cost, quality, utilization and access. GDAHC will work with the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS), the Detroit Medical Center Physician Organization, The Henry Ford Physician Network and others to reduce unnecessary care in the Detroit region.
Integrated Healthcare Association
California’s Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA), a nonprofit multi-stakeholder group focused on promoting quality improvement, accountability and affordability, will lead a project designed to promote appropriate care in both northern and southern California. IHA will partner with provider organizations Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group (San Diego County) and Sutter Health (Sacramento/Central Valley/San Francisco Bay), the California chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP-CA), the Center for Healthcare Decisions (CHCD) and Blue Shield of California (BSC).
Maine Quality Counts
Maine Quality Counts (MQC), a multi-stakeholder regional health improvement collaborative and previous Foundation grantee, will lead an effort focused on Maine’s Midcoast and Greater Bangor regions. MQC will work with local partners and statewide organizations: Maine Medical Association, Maine Osteopathic Association, Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, Maine Area Agencies on Aging, and providers Mid Coast Health System, Martin’s Point Health Care, Penobscot Community Health Care, and Joseph Healthcare.
North Carolina Healthcare Quality Alliance
The North Carolina Healthcare Quality Alliance, a non-profit health collaborative, will work to reduce unnecessary care in central North Carolina and the rest of the state. NCHQA will partner with the North Carolina Medical Society, Duke Medicine, Cornerstone Health Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.
University of California, Los Angeles
The UCLA Department of Medicine will lead a coalition of six partners working toward a dramatic reduction in low value care. The coalition includes: the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles County DHS Primary Care Practice Based Research Network, The Wellness Center at Historic General Hospital, and the Society of General Internal Medicine.
Washington Health Alliance
The Washington Health Alliance (WHA), a purchaser-led regional health improvement collaborative and previous grantee, will continue to partner with the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), another former grantee, to use Choosing Wisely to shape the state’s health care system. They will be joined by two provider organizations, Group Health Cooperative and Swedish Health Services.
Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality
The Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ), a regional healthcare collaborative and past ABIM Foundation grantee in advancing Choosing Wisely, will partner with provider organizations Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Monroe Clinic, the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians and the Wisconsin Medical Society.
As part of Choosing Wisely®, each participating specialty society has identified its own list of five common tests or procedures whose use in their profession should be discussed or questioned. The societies were given the following parameters to develop the lists:
- Each item should be within the specialty’s purview and control;
- Procedures should be used frequently and/or carry a significant cost; and
- There needs to be evidence to support each recommendation.
Consumer Reports then is creating consumer education materials for each item, intended for patients and their families.