The Alliance supports the Choosing Wisely® campaign to promote conversations between physicians and patients to make smart, effective health care choices that lead to high-quality care in Washington state. Choosing Wisely is a national initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation. The initiative seeks to advance a national dialogue on avoiding wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures.

About Choosing Wisely

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

  • supported by evidence;
  • not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received;
  • free from harm; and
  • truly necessary.

In response to this challenge, national organizations representing medical specialists asked their providers to “choose wisely” by identifying tests or procedures commonly used in their field whose necessity should be questioned and discussed. The resulting lists of “Things Providers and Patients Should Question” are intended to spark discussion about the need—or lack thereof—for many frequently ordered tests or treatments. Since the campaign’s launch in 2012, 75 medical societies have identified 490 recommendations for patients and doctors to question.

How the Alliance contributes to Choosing Wisely

The Alliance believes in reducing the overuse of services, treatments and procedures that are wasteful and contribute to the enormous cost of health care. Avoidable care does not contribute to better health and leads to more testing to investigate false positives. Physicians and patients need to work together to choose appropriate health care that is supported by evidence, doesn’t duplicate other tests or procedures, won’t cause harm and is truly necessary.

The Alliance has partnered with the Washington State Medical Association, Washington State Hospital Association and health care leaders across the state to implement systematic ways to improve care. The Alliance was one of 21 organizations (including the Washington State Medical Association) that was awarded a grant from the ABIM Foundation in 2013 to promote the goals of the campaign. In 2015, the Alliance was one of seven organizations to receive a second-round grant to further the campaign.

Washington State Choosing Wisely Task Force

The Alliance and its partners support the Washington State Choosing Wisely Task Force that champions and disseminates the principles and resources of Choosing Wisely. This group of leaders is committed to ensuring safe, high-value care for patients in Washington state by significantly reducing health care overuse and waste. They strive to change behaviors and create measurable improvement through education, building practice models and frameworks, and developing resources for providers and health care systems. The task force focused on reducing the use of antibiotics for acute upper respiratory viral infections, imaging for uncomplicated headaches, and overly frequent Pap tests for women.

Original Task Force Members

View members

Resources For Patients

The Alliance’s Own Your Health website can help you make informed decisions about your health care and talk to your doctor about your health care options. As each patient situation is unique, use the information to guide conversations with your doctor to determine appropriate care for you.

Resources For Employers

The Alliance’s Own Your Health website offers many resources to help employers capitalize on the important role they play in improving the health outcomes of their employees and their families, including, infographics, posters, social media messages, and videos. Alliance members are also welcome to create their own  partner page on the Own Your Health website with customized content.

Resources For Providers and Health Systems

Read “Less Waste. Less Harm. Choosing Wisely in Washington State”  for county-by-county results for select Choosing Wisely recommendations that shows substantial variation among counties in terms of the number of unnecessary tests and procedures performed.

Read our First, Do No Harm report on four years of low-value care delivered to Washingtonians, using the Milliman MedInsightTM Health Waste Calculator for 47 of the common treatments, tests, and procedures identified by the Choosing Wisely program and known by the medical community to be overused. Of the approximately 9.5 million services examined for both the commercially-insured and Medicaid populations:

  • 51% were considered low-value (wasteful or likely wasteful);
  • an average of 846,973 individuals received at least one low-value service each year;
  • a total estimated $703 million was spent on low-value care; and
  • 10 areas of low-value care accounted for more than 90% of the low-value care found in this analysis.

In this release, the Alliance provides the first comparison of the number of low-value services delivered by medical groups across the state.