Explore this issue:June 2013
SHM has gotten behind the Choosing Wisely campaign in a big way. Earlier this year, SHM announced lists of suggested practices for adult and pediatric hospital medicine (see Table 1). To keep it on the front burner, hospitalists John Bulger and Ian Jenkins held a pre-course at HM13 devoted entirely to quality-improvement (QI) approaches to implementing and sustaining the practices outlined in the campaign. During the main meeting, they did an encore presentation, with Doug Carlson and Ricardo Quinonez presenting the elements of Choosing Wisely for pediatric hospital medicine.
The widely publicized campaign arose from an American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation grant program to “facilitate the development of innovative, emerging strategies to advance appropriate health-care decision-making and stewardship of health-care resources.” (For more information, visit www.abimfoundation.org.)
Adoption of many of the suggested Choosing Wisely practices will require a change in deeply ingrained, habitual behaviors. We assert that rational, reflective, cognitive processes might not be enough to overturn these behaviors, and that we must look to other mental systems to achieve the consistent adoption of the campaign’s suggested practices. An analogy exists in economics, where theories behind classical economics are challenged by behavioral economics.
What is behavioral economics? Classical economics asserts the individual as “homo economicus”: a person making rational, predictable decisions to advance their interests. However, due to social or professional influence, behavior often does not comport to expected ends. We succumb, sympathize, or follow the pack, diverging from the rulebook. Behavioral economics attempts to understand and compensate for these deviations.