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    What is Choosing Wisely®?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | July 21st, 2019

    What is Choosing Wisely®?

    Every time my husband picks up my phone, he always has to comment on how many apps I have on my phone.  I remind him that it is my phone and that each app has a purpose.  One of my recent downloads was the Choosing Wisely app.  The mission of Choosing Wisely® is to promote conversations between clinicians and patients by helping patient choose care that is:

    • Supported by evidenceresearch has proven that it is helpful.
    • Not duplicative of other tests or procedures already receivedwe are not repeating test or procedures that you already have had.
    • Free from harm.
    • Truly necessaryany test that is ordered will help in providing good care.  

    The goal of the Choosing Wisely campaign is to make sure that we are avoiding unnecessary medical tests and treatments by knowing our options and asking questions.

    According to Choosing Wisely®, there are 5 questions to ask your doctor before you get any test, treatment, or procedure:

    1. Do I really need this test or procedure? Medical tests help you and your doctor or other health care provider decide how to treat a problem. Medical procedures help to actually treat it.
    2. What are the risks? Will there be side effects? What are the chances of getting results that aren’t accurate? Could that lead to more testing or another procedure?
    3. Are there simpler, safer options? Sometimes all you need to is make lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier food or exercising more.
    4. What happens if I don’t do anything? As if your condition might get worse – or better – if you don’t have the test or procedure right away.
    5. How much does it cost? Ask if there are less-expensive tests, treatments or procedure, what your insurance may cover, and about generic drugs instead of brand-name drugs.

    The patient/health care provider is an important relationship. You must feel comfortable having the conversation.

    For more information on Choosing Wisely®, click here.

    To download patient material, click here.

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.

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