On November 14th, I attended the first national student leadership conference of Choosing Wisely Canada. Two students from all 17 medical schools came to Toronto to start a conversation about the need for health professionals to learn how to practise high value care.
In terms of resource management, Choosing Wisely is an international campaign that seeks to improve healthcare by removing unnecessary and potentially harmful tests, medications and other practices. Collaborating with Canadian specialty societies, the campaign has published lists of recommendations for each specialty.
Notably, for family physicians, the list has eleven recommendations that were obtained through consultation of the Canadian Medical Association Forum on General and Family Practice Issues and of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and through literature reviews. Foremost, the list recommends not to order imaging for lower-back pain unless red flags are present such as the suspicion of osteomyelitis. Second on the list is the importance of avoiding antibiotic use in upper respiratory infections that are likely of viral origin or are self-limiting, as antibiotics are not efficient against viral infections and can also have negative consequences.
In the long term, Choosing Wisely and the chosen students leads will collaborate with the respective medical schools to implement new content into the undergraduate medical curricula. Indubitably, the training that medical students receive stays with them for a long time and creates patterns of practice. For us, medical students, a list of recommendations has also been developed. For example, it recommends us to consider less invasive treatments and to ask clarification with our supervisors on tests and treatments.
The campaign having recently engaged medical students, I am looking forward to the results of this initiative, as I am being an active actor and leader in my medical school.
Medical student at Université de Montréal
Choosing Wisely Canada Student Lead