Created by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, a non-profit quality-control watchdog, the Choosing Wisely site is a master list of common medical tests and procedures that you probably don’t want any part of. The ABIMF has queried to date 62 medical specialty “societies” collectively representing over a million American health-care providers. Each group contributed “lists of five things that physicians and patients should question.” (The American Academy of Family Physicians took the exercise to heart and contributed 15 to avoid.) The lists don’t align, naturally, but cumulatively they provide a great object lesson in the range and depth of bad ideas that are routinely put in practice.
How to Navigate the Site:
- On the home page of choosingwisely.org, enter a test or a therapy in the search box, on the right side of the page below the colored banners at the top, to see how often it shows up on the different lists.
- You can also click on the teal “Lists” banner to bring up the full menu of medical society lists on the left side of the page. On the right side is a list of common vexing medical questions answered with an eye to discouraging overtreatment (“Patient-Friendly Resources”). ABIMF’s partner in the latter feature is Consumer Reports which, along with the venerable Public Citizen, co-founded by Ralph Nader in 1971, serve as consumer watchdogs in the health care arena. (For a modest $15 a year, you can access Public Citizen’s “Worst Pills, Best Pills” data-base at worstpills.org and receive its regular on-line news bulletins.)