High Quality, Low Cost HealthCare Video Interview Series: Daniel Wolfson and The Choosing Wisely Campaign

4 Mins read

ImageLast week, we learned about EndoGoal from Dr.

ImageLast week, we learned about EndoGoal from Dr. Jennifer Dyer.  This week brings us to Philadelphia where we talk with Daniel Wolfson of the ABIM Foundation about the Choosing Wisely Campaign.  Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation and nine medical specialty groups that focuses on discussions between doctor and patient concerning the overuse or misuse of medical testing and screening.  For more information and details on the campaign, see our post.

And now, watch the video:

To see other videos in this series, please go to this page.  And if you have a story to tell that can reduce healthcare costs and raise quality of care, please comment below or email me at  Thanks!

video transcript (by TranscriptionStar)

Joan:  I’m Joan Justice with HealthWorks Collective and I’m here Daniel Wolfson Executive VP and COO of ABIM Foundation.  Daniel is here to talk about the Choosing Wisely campaign and initiative of the ABIM Foundation.  Daniel, just give us an overview of the campaign and its mission?


Daniel:  Thanks Joan and thanks to HealthWorks Collective.  I’m glad to be on the show today.  Let me just go through what Choosing Wisely is about, what are some of its objectives.  The ABIM Foundation has long been interested in professionalism as a force for improving quality, safety and affordability of healthcare, and so this campaign arrives from that kind of framework, but there were many threads about how this got started.


And one was the National Physicians Alliance, a specialty organization of 15,000 physicians, who we gave a guarantee when conceived that this notion of identifying five things that were overused.  So we took that kind of experience and asked other specialty societies right now it was originally 9 and will be up to 30 at the end of at 2013. 


Joan:  Great.


Daniel:  We asked them to identify five things under their control of high-frequency that were overused often the benefits did not exceed the risks and were potential harms.  So what’s really important about this campaign is one the message.  The message that there’s overused, there’s waste, and we think that’s a quality issue, a safety issue and if it results in savings fine, but really is about quality and saving.


Two, it’s about the messenger, physician leaders taking the initiative to say things that really are not in their economic and self-interest, which is professionalism.  And third very direct actions about what not to do, but what this campaign is about its major objective is to develop conversation between physicians and patients about what is needed for that particular patient. 


The recommendations are not absolutes.  There is a section or red flags that would dictate a certain procedure being done, given the patient’s history, so we also are working beside our specialty society partners; we’re working with consumer reports.


Joan:  Yeah I saw that, great.


Daniel:  Consumer Reports is also working with 14 consumer and employer organizations.  Consumer Reports is translating the recommendations into friendly understandable layperson language, so you can understand and me a layperson can understand of what those recommendations start, and be prepared for those conversations with physicians.  On the physician side, we’re developing some communication modules about how to talk to patients about unnecessary here.  So what we have there’s an informed conversation with patients and physicians both understanding the recommendations, and why they’re important to have those conversations.


So, some of the employer and consumer groups are ARP National Business Group on Health, National Business Coalition on Health specific group, specific business group on health.  So we think that kind of conversation between patients and physicians without repairs in the room, without the government in the room having those conversations is what, is made this a dynamic campaign.  We’ve had a lot of good press.


The press told the story in the right way.  And what we think is done in the short term is taken away some of the hysteria of the conversations we heard of our healthcare reform when people were talking about [Indiscernible] [0:04:36].  The press really covered it correctly to talk about there are unnecessary overused things and then that are costing the public millions of dollars estimated to $210 billion per year, but again it’s about that conversations.  No absolutes about the recommendations, encouragement to have those conversations, both having the materials the information in their hands.


Some of the success is been; there’s been over 40 clinical journal articles since the inception of the campaign in April.  It’s only a seven month campaign.  My PR and communication experts tell me that we’ve had 300 million clinicians.  We’ve been in New York Times since the beginning of the campaign.


Joan:  That’s wonderful.


Daniel:  [Indiscernible] [0:05:30] so we really I think begin to have a conversation.  This is a public awareness campaign.  We’re trying to change attitudes and a culture about both from the physician side and the patient side.  Patient side is we’re trying to change more is always better to rest sometimes is better, and physician beginning to early pay attention to the evidence and beginning to say, instead of saying why didn’t I do that, why did you do that, shift of language and thinking is what we’re after in the initial phases of this campaign.


Joan:  I saw some of those.


Daniel:  So medical societies will also be asked to talk to their members, educate their members in multiple ways about these recommendations, so we’re very excited about that.  Can you imagine 30 specialty societies talking over 500,000 physicians in America about these recommendations?


Joan:  That’s wonderful.


Daniel:  The partnership and the leveraging of organizations is really been fantastic.  So the right messenger, the right message and at the right time where there’s a growing concern about the sustainability of healthcare costs in America.  And I think particularly post selection there will be more and more conversations about this.  And I think our specialty societies and consumer and employer groups are really leading by example, and so it’s been of a fantastic journey, but we’re just begun.


Joan:  Great Daniel, yeah I saw some of the informational material in the consumer reports, and not only is it translated as you say in easy read, but it’s in Spanish and they have videos and written material.  It’s wonderful.  I hope our readers get you take a look at that.  Well, thank you so much and choosing wisely certainly a huge step in the right direction of reducing costs while maintaining a really high quality of care.  Thanks so much for the interview Daniel.


Daniel:  Thank you Joan.

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