Dialogue Volume 15 Issue 1 2019 - Page 35

PRACTICE PARTNER For Smart Medicine, Choose Wisely By Stuart Foxman A Dr. Wendy Levinson student says to the teacher, “Will I get in trouble for something I didn’t do?” The teacher says, “Of course not.” The student replies, “Great, I didn’t do my homework.” Doctors do their homework. Ordering all sorts of tests, treatments and procedures can feel right and safe. Why do less? However, all those interventions come with possible side effects, which are often underestimated. “Being thorough, leaving no stone unturned – the downside is it doesn’t take into account the consequences of doing more,” says, Dr. Wendy Levinson, Chair of Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC). The organization is the national voice for reducing unnecessary tests and treatments in health care. CWC explains that such superflu- ous interventions: • do not add value for patients; • potentially expose patients to harm; • lead to more testing to investigate false positives; • contribute to unwarranted stress for patients and their families; and • consume precious time and resources. Will doctors get in trouble for something they don’t do? That’s a concern for some, acknowledges Dr. Levinson, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She says doctors might wonder if their reluctance to order a particular test or procedure might result in a patient complaint to the CPSO. ISSUE 1, 2019 DIALOGUE 35