What is the impact of drug recommendations from the Choosing Wisely Canada campaign?

Date posted: 
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Data access has been approved for a University of British Columbia project to examine the impact of Choosing Wisely Canada’s recommendations on the overuse and inappropriate use of prescription drugs in British Columbia

The study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and led by Dr. Michael Law, Canada Research Chair in Access to Medicines, at UBC’s Centre for Health Services and Policy Research.

The Choosing Wisely Canada campaign aims to help clinicians and patients have conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments in order to ensure high quality care. Unnecessary tests and treatments put increased strain on health care resources, potentially expose patients to harm, and exacerbate patient stress.

The campaign has been adopted nationally and internationally, with similar campaigns existing in 15 countries worldwide. The organization is also working towards incorporating the recommendations into Canadian medical school curriculums. However, there has yet to be any evaluation of the impact these recommendations are having on physician practice, patient outcomes, and health care spending.

“Canadian national specialty societies have developed lists that identify tests and treatments commonly used in each specialty, but which are not supported by evidence and/or could expose patients to unnecessary harm,” says Dr. Law. “Many of these lists include recommendations related to prescription medication over use and inappropriate use. We are going to evaluate these recommendations using six years of data on millions of individuals from the BC Ministry of Health’s PharmaNet database, the most comprehensive population-based drug utilization dataset in Canada.”

Dr. Law’s team is working in collaboration with the evaluation lead for Choosing Wisely Canada and will be sharing results as they emerge.

PopData will be linking data sets from the BC Ministry of Health, BC Vital Statistics Agency, and College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia for the project.


Page last revised: August 1, 2018