Dr Derek Sherwood talks Choosing Wisely and advance care planning

Collaboration is key when working in an environment with limited resources, says Dr Derek Sherwood, ophthalmologist and Choosing Wisely NZ advisory group member.

In a recent webinar, hosted by the Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission), Dr Sherwood says both the Choosing Wisely campaign and advance care planning programme are working hard to improve shared decision-making and to eliminate low value or unnecessary care.

Choosing Wisely is an international programme, first developed in 2012 as a response to growing evidence that patients were being harmed by unnecessary testing and treatments.

Advance care planning is a programme of work, led by the Commission and supported by district health boards, which helps people and their whānau plan for their future health needs and end-of-life care.

Planning helps consumers understand what their future might hold, and how to be clear about what health care they would or would not want. 

Dr Sherwood says when programmes with similar objectives work closely together, they can leverage off each other, working towards aligned goals.

He encourages programme leads to use consumer stories to bring statistics to life and show the importance of lessening over-treatment and inequitable health care outcomes.

Ultimately, health professionals are working to help people, but can end up doing things that cause harm if they are fearful about missing a diagnosis, or of complaints, or they lack time for shared decision making, leading to poor quality conversations about tests and treatments, Dr Sherwood says.

Choosing Wisely and advance care planning are consumer-centred and evidence based programmes, working towards more equitable healthcare outcomes.