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An echo to Choosing Wisely® in Switzerland

Authors Chok L, Debrunner J, Jaeggli S, Kusic K, Bachli EB

Received 30 October 2017

Accepted for publication 1 February 2018

Published 4 May 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 167—174

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S155544

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Ms Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Lionel Chok, Johann Debrunner, Sandra Jaeggli, Karmen Kusic, Esther B Bachli

Department of Internal Medicine, Medical Clinic, Hospital Uster, Uster, Switzerland

Background: Inspired by the US Choosing Wisely®, in 2016 the Swiss Society of General Internal Medicine released a list of five treatments or diagnostic tests used in the hospital and considered unnecessary based on not improving patient care and adding to health care costs. These “Smarter Medicine” recommendations were implemented in the Department of Internal Medicine, Uster Hospital, in August 2016. They were supported by lectures and weekly email communications. We analyzed the number of blood draws before and after implementation of the recommendation aimed at reducing blood tests.
Methods: This retrospective analysis was conducted in the Department of Internal Medicine, Uster Hospital, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland. Patients hospitalized in the 3 months before and after implementation were analyzed.
Results: A total of 2023 hospitalizations were analyzed. There was a significant decrease in the number of blood draws after introduction of the recommendation: before implementation, the median number of blood draws per patient was 4 (interquartile range [IQR], 2–7); after implementation, the median was 4 (IQR, 2–6; P = 0.002). Indeed, since 46% of the patients in the first group had more than four blood tests, this ratio decreased to 39% after implementation.
Discussion: Inappropriate blood draws may lead to anemia, patient discomfort and false-positive results. The simple and low-cost interventions used to implement “Smarter Medicine” have changed physician behavior by reducing the number of blood orders. These results are promising. Whether such recommendations will impact patient and clinical outcomes remains unknown; hence, further studies are needed to clarify this issue.

Keywords:
health care costs, medical societies, medicine, phlebotomy, primary health care, Switzerland

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