Choosing Wisely: ABIM Foundation Initiative

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In 2014, the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation conducted a survey to determine physician views on the overuse of medical services in the US. Almost 75% of the responding physicians indicated that frequency of use of unnecessary tests and procedures is a significant problem. With 72% of physicians believing the average medical doctor prescribes an unnecessary test or procedure at least once a week, the survey also highlights that greater than 50% of the overutilization of the unnecessary testing is probably being performed at the urging of the patient.


To assist in combating overutilization of testing and procedures, ABIM Foundation has established a program called Choosing Wisely.  The goal of Choosing Wisely is 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
  •             Truly necessary.

The program is ongoing and calls upon medical specialty societies and other organizations to identify tests and procedures commonly used with questionable necessity.  Since 2012, over 70 medical specialty societies have published greater than 400 recommendations. 

The website can be found at

This is a picture of the opening page of the website.  As you can see it has links to information helpful for both clinicians and patients.


Below is the screen shot from of the opening page of clinician information.


As you can see, the material can be filtered by specialty society, topic area etc.

The American Society for Clinical Pathology has been active in this endeavor and thus far has provided information on 25 different laboratory tests whose use can be called into question.  In future blogs and presentations, I will discuss some of the tests they have identified as being questionable.

I urge you to look at this web site.  It could provide helpful information to assist in your practice and in patient discussions.

Also, don't forget to stay connected and join our Quality Lab Group on LinkedIn!

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About the author

Dr. John Daly

John T. Daly, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer of COLA. Dr. Daly received his MD degree at Weill Cornell University Medical College, performed his internship and residency in Anatomic and Clinical pathology at Duke University Medical Center and a residency in Forensic Pathology at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill, N.C. He is board certified in anatomic, clinical and forensic pathology. Through the course of his career, Dr. Daly has had extensive experience directing and advising laboratories of all sizes including physician office practices, Federal Health Clinics, surgical centers, Community Hospitals and the integrated academic health system clinical laboratories of Duke Medicine. He retired as Director of Laboratories of Duke Medicine, and continues his affiliation as a member of the emeritus staff. He then joined the accreditation organization, COLA, as the Chief Medical Officer. In this role he continues to provide guidance that helps labs improve safety in labs, standardize and streamline operations while achieving CLIA compliance.


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