American Society for Clinical Pathology Joins 'Choosing Wisely' Campaign

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Initiative Aims to Improve Medical Tests Use, Improve Health Outcomes, Reduce Costs

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It is a landmark effort to look introspectively on how medical procedures and tests are used and identify those that can be used more appropriately and effectively to improve patient care.

The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) announced today that it is among the most recent medical specialty associations to join the Choosing Wisely campaign. Launched in December 2011 by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation, Choosing Wisely is designed to engage physicians, patients, and other healthcare stakeholders into thinking and talking about the overuse or misuse of medical tests and procedures that provide little benefit and, in some instances, cause harm to patients.

All national medical specialty societies that join the campaign, including ASCP, will identify five tests or procedures often used in their specialty medical area, whose use could be debated. The resulting lists will spark conversations about the need or lack of need for many frequently ordered tests or treatments. As a first step as part of its commitment to the Choosing Wisely campaign, ASCP will be working closely with its members and leadership over the next few months to identify five laboratory tests that we can use better to help our patients.

“We're pleased to be working alongside the American Board of Internal Medicine and several other partners to discuss and decipher the real issue of over testing in medicine,” said Dr. Blair Holladay, ASCP Executive Vice President. “The laboratory plays an important role in the total testing represented in the patient charts—up to 70 percent—therefore it is critical that ASCP, with its 100,000-plus experts in clinical and anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine make appropriate recommendations to clinicians regarding test utilization. As a patient-centric organization, this is our ethical responsibility.”

In addition to ASCP, the American College of Physicians and the American College of Radiology will join the following organizations that enrolled in the campaign in late 2011: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; American Academy of Family Physicians; American College of Cardiology; American Gastroenterological Association; American Society of Clinical Oncology; American Society of Nephrology; American Society of Nuclear Cardiology; and Consumer Reports.

According to Philip Castle, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of the ASCP Institute and Center for Health Services Research, the Choosing Wisely campaign represents an important turning point in American medicine. “It is a landmark effort to look introspectively on how medical procedures and tests are used and identify those that can be used more appropriately and effectively to improve patient care,” Dr. Castle said. “The Choosing Wisely mission is in alignment with ASCP’s efforts to become more patient focused. ASCP’s participation in this important activity will help our Center for Health Services Research provide leadership on better laboratory test utilization. We are excited and honored to join this campaign and to work closely with ABIM and the Choosing Wisely campaign over the coming years to address the needs of our patients through better access and use of clinical laboratory tests.”

Choosing Wisely is part of the ABIM Foundation’s goal of promoting wise choices by clinicians in order to improve health outcomes, provide patient-centered care that avoids unnecessary and even harmful interventions, and reduce the rapidly expanding costs of the healthcare system.

More About ASCP

Founded in 1922 in Chicago, ASCP is a professional society with more than 100,000 member pathologists, residents, laboratory professionals, and students. ASCP provides excellence in education, certification, and advocacy on behalf of patients, pathologists, and laboratory professionals.

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