Ask your doctor the right questions about specific conditions. Here’s how.

September 21, 2016

choosing-wisely@2xHave back pain? Should you pay for an expensive imaging test?

Have trouble sleeping? What questions should you ask about sleeping pills?

Turning 50 soon? Do you need a colonoscopy, and how often?

You can find evidence-based answers to these questions and more through The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation founded the campaign, which partners with more than 70 medical specialty societies and Consumer Reports to create materials to help patients prepare for doctor appointments, learn the right questions to ask, and make informed decisions about treatment options.

The goal is to reverse the trend of “wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures.”

Today, the U.S. spends more than $3 trillion a year on health care, according to Dr. Richard Popiel, chief medical officer for Cambia Health Solutions. About a third of that spending is related to waste, fraud, inefficiency and duplication, he says.

“That’s about 6 percent of the GDP, so 6 percent of our GDP is related to health care that has no value to the individuals that health care service is delivered to,” says Dr. Popiel.

The Choosing Wisely initiative not only empowers consumers with educational information, but it also provides resources for employers to educate their work forces and for doctors to improve patient communication.

Do you have a story about a medical procedure that was unnecessary? Please share your story here.