The Choosing Wisely campaign is focused on better decision-making, improved quality, and decreased healthcare costs. Such focus on efficiency and cost-effectiveness also was part of the initial motivation for developing hospital medicine, says one of HM’s pioneering doctors.
Robert Wachter, MD, MHM, who heads the division of hospital medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, compares the current national obsession about healthcare waste with the medical quality and patient safety movements of the past decade.
“It’s the right time, the right message, and the right messenger,” says Dr. Wachter, who also chairs the American Board of Internal Medicine and sits on the board of the ABIM Foundation. “We’re a little scared about raised expectations. Delivering on them is going to be more difficult, even, than patient safety was, because ultimately it will require curtailing some income streams. You can’t reach the final outcome of cutting costs in healthcare without someone making less money.”
Dr. Wachter expects the medical community to hear “similar kinds of drumbeats about waste” from every corner of healthcare. “I think hospitalists should be active and enthusiastic partners in the Choosing Wisely campaign,” he says, “and leaders in American healthcare’s efforts to figure out how to purge waste from the system and decrease unnecessary expense.