Choosing Wisely at 5: Is It Making a Difference (And What About the Next 5 Years)?

Five years into the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation’s “Choosing Wisely” campaign, most health care providers and consumers who’ve heard about it agree that the initiative has something important to say about avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures, including some associated with physical therapy. But has that awareness increased significantly, and does it translate into changes in behavior? Some say no—or at least not yet.

ABIM’s recently released special report on the first 5 years of the Choosing Wisely program characterizes the initiative as a sorely needed effort that is gaining momentum. Since its beginnings in 2012, the collection of ineffective and overused treatments and tests has expanded to 525 recommendations from more than 80 specialty society partners, according to ABIM. In 2014, APTA became the first nonphysician organization to contribute to Choosing Wisely when it released its list of “5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question.”

Full story at APTA

APTA Helps Consumers Choose ‘Sabiamente’

The debut of a Spanish-language version of APTA’s Choosing Wisely® list of “5 things physical therapists and patients should question” will help APTA do more to get the word out about the importance of informed communication between patients and health care providers.

The translated consumer-friendly summary is available at and joins multiple resources that provide education on APTA’s participation in the Choosing Wisely campaign developed by American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation. The initiative aims to help consumers make informed health care choices by providing lists of procedures that tend to be done frequently, yet whose usefulness is called into question by evidence. Consumer Reports partners with the ABIM Foundation and APTA to share the lists with the public.

Full story of communication between patients and providers at APTA

Wasteful Care in Medicare ‘Substantial and Widespread’

Medicare beneficiaries “commonly” undergo tests and procedures that are of little benefit and could cost the system more than $8 billion a year, according to authors of a new study of 1.36 million beneficiaries. Though researchers say that the findings are “consistent with the notion that wasteful practices are pervasive in the US health care system,” gauging the actual magnitude of the problem—and pinning down costs to Medicare—is not easy.

The study, published in the May 13 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzes the use of “low value” services in cancer screening, diagnostic and preventive testing, preoperative testing, imaging, cardiovascular testing, and surgical procedures by way of 26 claims-based measures applied to Medicare claims from 2009. The services were chosen based on recommendations in the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation’s “Choosing Wisely” campaign, as well as other agencies. APTA is 1 of the first 3 non-physician groups that will be participating in the Choosing Wisely campaign.

Full story of wasteful care in medicare at APTA

APTA Members Asked to Identify Unnecessary Procedures

APTA’s efforts to make physical therapy a leader in fraud and abuse prevention could soon include a public education campaign to encourage informed care decisions based on member input on physical therapy tests and procedures that are unnecessary.

As part of its Integrity in Practice initiative, APTA is exploring the possibility of participating in the “Choosing Wisely” program, a national American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation-sponsored project that provides the public with lists of health care tests and procedures that may be unnecessary under certain circumstances. APTA would join over 50 medical specialty societies that each contributed a list of “5 Things a Patient Should Question.”

Full story of the choosing wisely program at APTA