Talk with a health educator - MaineHealth Learning Resource Center Find health information - MaineHealth Learning Resource Center

For Healthcare Professionals

Choosing Wisely

View a printable version   

About the Campaign

An initiative of the ABIM Foundation 

The Issue
As the nation increasingly focuses on ways to provide safer, higher-quality care to patients, the overuse of health care resources is an issue of considerable concern. Many experts agree that the current way health care is delivered in the U.S. contains too much waste—with some stating that as much as 30 percent of care delivered is duplicative or unnecessary and may not improve people’s health.

It is urgent that physicians and patients work together and have conversations about wise treatment decisions. That means choosing care that is supported by evidence showing that it works for patients like them; is not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received; won’t harm  them;  and is truly necessary.

The Campaign
Choosing Wisely® is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to help physicians and patients engage in conversations about the overuse of tests and procedures and support physician efforts to help patients make smart and effective care choices. Recognizing the importance of physicians and patients working together, leading specialty societies, along with Consumer Reports, have joined  Choosing Wisely to help  improve  the quality and safety of health care in America.

As part of Choosing Wisely, each participating specialty society has created lists of “Things Physicians and Patients  Should  Question” that  provide  specific, evidence-based recommendations physicians and patients should  discuss to help make wise decisions about  the most appropriate care based on their individual  situation.

The resulting lists will stimulate discussion about the need—or lack thereof—for many frequently ordered tests or treatments. Participating specialty societies and the ABIM Foundation are using these lists to support physicians in making wise choices and will develop tools to help them have these kinds of conversations with patients.

This concept was originally piloted by the National Physicians Alliance, who through an ABIM Foundation Putting the Charter into Practice grant created a set of three lists of specific steps physicians in internal medicine, family practice and pediatrics could take in their practices to promote the more effective use of health care resources.

Consumer Reports, the nation’s leading independent, non-profit consumer organization, has also joined the campaign to provide resources for consumers and physicians to engage in these important conversations. They are coordinating consumer-oriented organizations to help disseminate information and educate patients on making wise decisions.

Continuing the Professionalism Challenge
Choosing Wisely is part of a multi-year effort of the A BIM Foundation to help physicians be better stewards of finite health care resources. It continues the principles and commitments of promoting justice in the health care system through a fair distribution of resources set forth in Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter.

Learn more about  Choosing Wisely at

Specialty Societies That Have Released Lists

  • American  Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
  • American  Academy of Clinical Toxicology
  • American  Academy of Family Physicians
  • American  Academy of Hospice  and Palliative Medicine
  • American  Academy of Neurology
  • American  Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American  Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American  Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
  • American  Academy of Pediatrics
  • American  Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
  • American  College of Cardiology
  • American  College of Medical Toxicology
  • American  College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American  College of Physicians
  • American  College of Radiology
  • American  College of Rheumatology
  • American  College of Surgeons
  • American  Gastroenterological Association
  • American  Geriatrics  Society
  • AMDA – Dedicated to Long Term  Care Medicine
  • American  Psychiatric Association
  • American  Society of Clinical Oncology
  • American  Society for Clinical Pathology
  • American  Society of Echocardiography
  • American  Society of Nephrology
  • American  Society of Nuclear  Cardiology
  • American  Society for Radiation Oncology
  • American  Urological Association
  • Commission on Cancer
  • North American  Spine Society
  • Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography
  • Society of General Internal Medicine
  • Society of Hospital  Medicine
  • Society of Nuclear  Medicine  and Molecular Imaging
  • Society of Thoracic Surgeons
  • Society of Vascular Medicine

Specialty Societies Releasing Lists in Late 2013 and Early 2014

  • American  Academy of Dermatology
  • American  Association of Blood Banks
  • American  Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
  • American  Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • American  College of Chest Physicians
  • American  College of Emergency Physicians
  • American  College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • American  Geriatrics  Society
  • American  Headache Society
  • American  Society of Anesthesiologists
  • American  Society of Clinical Oncology
  • American  Society of  Colon and Rectal Surgeons
  • American  Society of Hematology
  • American  Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • American  Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • American  Thoracic Society
  • The Endocrine Society
  • Heart  Rhythm Society
  • Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic  Resonance
  • Society of Critical Care Medicine
  • Society of Gynecologic  Oncology
  • Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Choosing Wisely Consumer Groups (through collaboration with Consumer Reports) 

  • AARP
  • Alliance Health Networks
  • Leapfrog Group
  • Midwest Business Group on Health
  • Minnesota Health Action Group
  • National Business Coalition on Health
  • National Business Group on Health
  • National Center for Farmworker Health
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
  • National Partnership for Women & Families
  • Pacific Business Group on Health
  • SEIU
  • Univision (with HolaDoctor)
  • Union Plus
  • The Wikipedia Community

ABIM Foundation LogoAbout the ABIM Foundation:
The mission of the ABIM Foundation is to advance medical professionalism to improve  the health care system. We achieve this by collaborating with physicians and physician leaders, medical trainees, health care delivery systems, payers, policymakers, consumer organizations and patients to foster a shared  understanding of professionalism and how they can adopt the tenets of professionalism in practice. To learn more about  the ABIM Foundation, visit

110 Free Street | Portland, Maine 04101 | (207) 661-7001