Society of Hospital Medicine Joins Campaign against Unnecessary Medical Treatments


SHM has joined the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation's Choosing Wisely campaign, through which medical societies identify tests and procedures that are common in their specialties but often unnecessary.

The campaign, launched in April, currently includes nine societies that have each crafted lists of "five things physicians and patients should question." SHM's Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Committee is now working on its own evidence-based list, with a focus on the inpatient setting. The list should be released this fall, says Gregory Maynard, MD, MSc, SFHM, senior vice president of SHM’s Center for Healthcare Improvement and Innovation.

"We will also be looking for innovative methods to reinforce these messages and integrate them into daily practice," Dr. Maynard says. Unless physicians squeeze out healthcare's waste and inefficiency in ways that actually improve care, he says, "healthcare spending could be cut in potentially destructive ways."

University of California at San Francisco's Robert Wachter, MD, MHM, a co-founder of SHM who also is chair-elect of ABIM's board of directors, calls the campaign a significant advance for the quality movement, "which has not previously embraced cost and waste reduction as strongly as it needs to."

Dr. Wachter advises hospitalists take advantage of the currently available lists of questionable treatments in such areas as cardiology, radiology, and nephrology. "This is extraordinarily hopeful. The medical profession is finally stepping up to the plate," he says.

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