Society Recognizes ChoosingWisely® Champions

April 18, 2017

AMDA—The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, a partner in the ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports’ Choosing Wisely® campaign, recently announced its Choosing Wisely Champions. This recognition goes to David Smith, MD, CMD, President of Geriatric Consultants of Central Texas, and Anuj Bhatnagar, MD, CMD, Associated Medical Director of Riverside PACE in Virginia. The Champions program is designed to recognize clinicians who have gone above and beyond to make significant contributions to advance the ideals of the Choosing Wisely campaign by working to reduce overuse and unnecessary tests and treatments in medicine.

Dr. Smith was recognized for his effort to use the Choosing Wisely campaign materials to educate prescribers in his community about the definition of acute urinary tract infections (UTIs) and the use of antibiotics. He wrote a letter to prescribers in his community to educate them about the importance of not prescribing antibiotics in cases of asymptomatic bacteriuria, among other issues related to UTI diagnosis, documentation, and antibiotic usage. He also attached a journal article he coauthored with urology colleagues. This communication was shared with the chief of pharmacy at the community hospital and with every long-term care medical director in the community. They all signed the letter, and it was sent to every prescriber in the community. “I was particularly proud to see this level of collaboration among competing facilities,” said Dr. Smith. He added, “This took just a few hours of work my part. It was relatively simple to do, but it had a positive impact.”

Dr. Bhatnagar used Choosing Wisely to teach nursing staff and front-line staff about the fundamentals of assessing UTIs in older adults. “I conducted a series of nursing education seminars and answered their questions via email or in person, as appropriate,” he said. He stressed the importance of not automatically labeling symptoms with UTI diagnosis. He suggested that “keeping our thought process open” will help improve patient care, ensure accurate diagnosis, and prevent inappropriate use of antibiotics. He noted that the Choosing Wisely materials and related evidence helped nurses and others understand the need to rethink the diagnosis and treatment of UTIs. “These kinds of initiatives are absolutely essential in the new world of health care. I am grateful to the Society for recognizing my efforts,” said Dr. Bhatnagar.

Launched in 2012 by the ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports, Choosing Wisely is widely recognized across the health care systems as a leading effort to reduce overuse and waste in medicine. More than 75 medical specialty societies, including AMDA—The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, have joined the campaign and published nearly 500 tests and treatments they say are overused or unnecessary.

“I am proud to recognize Drs. Smith and Bhatnagar as Choosing Wisely Champions and thank them for their commitment to improving our health care system through efforts to reduce overuse,” said Society Executive Director Christopher Laxton, CAE. “Their work embodies the ideals of this effort and exemplifies the value of engaged medical directors as quality leaders.”

For more information on the Society’s Choosing Wisely recommendations, click here. For more information on the Choosing Wisely Champions Program, click here.