The Saskatchewan Health Quality Council (HQC) and the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), in collaboration with other provincial partners, have announced the official launch of Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan, a campaign to help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments and make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality care.
“More doesn’t always mean better when it comes to health care. Tests and treatments that are unnecessary do not add value to care; rather, they are unhelpful and could actually expose patients to harm,” said Dr. Susan Shaw, Chair of the HQC Board of Directors. “Health system resources are also wasted when unnecessary care is provided to patients. This can result in longer wait times throughout the health system.”
Cindy Dumba, a patient and family advisor in Saskatchewan, said the Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan campaign encourages patients to “feel safe and comfortable to have good conversations with their doctors around appropriate testing and treatments.”
“I believe that shared decision-making between patients and doctors will go a long way to drastically decreasing unnecessary or inappropriate testing or treatment. Patients who choose wisely will ultimately enjoy better experiences and outcomes,” she said.
The official launch of the Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan campaign on May 5, 2017, coincides with the first day of the SMA Representative Assembly gathering in Saskatoon. Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan is a campaign fully affiliated with Choosing Wisely Canada, which is part of the international movement to help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments. The movement began in the United States in 2012, and now includes Canada, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, England, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, and Wales.
“As a practicing family physician, I see the positive impacts a program like Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan is having on the health system,” said SMA President Dr. Intheran Pillay. “Physicians in this province have been advocating for health system redesign, and appropriateness of care is a key initiative in that it helps physicians provide a higher level of care while using resources sustainably. I am pleased to foster interest in this kind of patient-centred thinking, and am encouraged to see that many physicians are applying it to their own day-to-day practices. Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan is a valuable partnership among a number of stakeholders and the SMA is pleased to support it. It will bring benefits to patients and to the larger health system.”
“Choosing Wisely is a great example of patient-centred care,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said. “We support this initiative as a way for physicians and patients to work in partnership, making informed and effective choices to ensure high-quality care.”
Across the country, there is currently a groundswell of local Choosing Wisely Canada implementation projects – such as in hospitals, health regions, long-term care homes, and primary care clinics – with many demonstrating dramatic reductions in the volume of unnecessary tests and treatments. Inspired by these efforts, Choosing Wisely Canada has launched a new series of toolkits, which are simple-to-follow how-to guides to reducing overuse, waste, and harm in different clinical settings. Each toolkit was developed by a clinician who has successfully implemented a Choosing Wisely Canada recommendation in their setting, and achieved significant impact.
HQC is coordinating regional Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan efforts through collaboration with the provincial Appropriateness of Care Program and the Appropriateness of Care Network. HQC is also collaborating with the Saskatchewan Medical Association, the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine, patient and family advisors, and other health system partners to raise the profile of the campaign provincially. In Saskatchewan, work is underway in partnership with the provincial Appropriateness of Care Program to undertake two Choosing Wisely Canada topics: pre-operative testing and low back imaging. Individual clinicians throughout Saskatchewan are also engaged in Choosing Wisely Canada topics.
“I am excited to work with these partners to support the implementation of Choosing Wisely Canada in Saskatchewan, and to encourage important conversations about potentially unnecessary and harmful tests and treatments,” said Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan Coordinator Jennifer Wright.
“We are delighted with the Saskatchewan Health Quality Council’s leadership of regional Choosing Wisely efforts with provincial stakeholders,”said Dr. Wendy Levinson, Chair, Choosing Wisely Canada, and Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto. “Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan, alongside key partners such as the Saskatchewan Medical Association, the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine, patient and family advisors, and other health system partners, will build upon strong provincial programs to reduce unnecessary care and improve quality. We welcome Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan to the Choosing Wisely Canada Regional Network and look forward to ongoing collaborations.”