As most health care providers are already working to deliver care more efficiently while following the goals of the Obama administration’s Affordbale Care Act (ACA), the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation (ABIM) has recently launched a new initiative in an effort to aid them in the process. “Choosing Wisely” aims to identify medical interventions — most often in the form of tests, procedures, drugs, and even surgery — that are frequently overused without benefit to patients and “whose necessity should be questioned and discussed” between physicians and their patients.
In an op-ed for The Huffington Post, Don Berwick, the former head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, explains that the initiative could be a veritable “game changer,” in that it identifies a number of ways in which health care wastes countless premium dollars on services that do not help anyone, while avoiding toxic cuts in benefits or coverage:
The specialty societies are not guessing; their lists of procedures contain copious scientific citations supporting the claims of overuse. Their advice earns further trust because, in many cases, by suggesting that physicians and patients think twice before using certain tests and treatments, the specialty societies are speaking against their own economic self-interest, which in fee-for-service payment attaches income to volume.
ABIM has identified “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” in each specialty in order to encourage open dialogue between patients and physicians. Such an approach could help patients take charge of their own health care decisions and dissuade providers from offering unnecessary care.