Choosing Wisely Australia has released specific pandemic guidance, based on current evidence, to support health professionals as stewards of finite health resources
Choosing Wisely Australia is part of a global initiative encouraging clinicians, consumers and healthcare stakeholders to have conversations about tests, treatments and procedures where evidence shows they provide no benefit or in some cases cause harm.
“There’s never been a more important time for us to stop, reflect and discuss the necessity of health care at both an individual patient and a systems level,” says NPS MedicineWise Client Relations Manager and Choosing Wisely spokesperson Dr Robyn Lindner.
“We need to look at what the evidence tells us, talk with patients about unproven therapies or advice, and ensure patients are getting the right health care in the right way for them and their condition.
“During the pandemic, Choosing Wisely is encouraging patients to continue to seek their usual care for new or existing conditions.
“Telehealth is also as an option, where appropriate, to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 and to increase accessibility,” she says.
Messages aimed at health professionals include:
- DO encourage patients to seek usual care for new or existing medical conditions.
- DO use health resources judiciously in accordance with guidelines.
- DO test and manage patients with COVID-19 according to evidence-based guidelines.
- DO consider telehealth as an option, where appropriate, to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 and to increase accessibility.
- DO discuss goals of care with patients, especially those with limited life expectancy, in accordance with relevant Choosing Wisely recommendations.
Guidance for health professionals is available here.
Information aimed at consumers encourages the general public to keep talking to their health providers, and includes five key messages for consumers:
- DO keep talking to your doctor and other healthcare providers about how you can look after your own health.
- DO remember it’s OK to ask questions. (Choosing Wisely has a list of five questions that consumers are encouraged to ask.)
- DO ask your doctor and other health workers if a test, treatment or procedure is necessary and if it can wait.
- DO keep a safe distance between yourself and others and DO wash your hands many times a day.
- DO look for safe facts that come from experts on your health problems and COVID-19.