New Brunswick doctors taking the conversation to patients about overuse of medical tests, treatments

New Brunswick’s doctors are publicly throwing their weight behind a national campaign which encourages patients to have more informed conversations about health services with their doctor. Choosing Wisely Canada encourages a dialogue between patients and doctors about the overuse of medical tests, treatments, and procedures.

A recent survey of physicians by the New Brunswick Medical Society found that 49 per cent of responding doctors believe patients don’t have enough information to make informed decisions about appropriate use of health services.

“An informed patient is a healthier, happier patient,” said Dr. Camille Haddad, President of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “When patients understand why a certain course of action is best for them, they will likely make better decisions for their health going forward.”

Lists of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question,” prepared by medical specialist societies, form the backbone of the campaign. The lists comprise tests, treatments, and procedures for which there is strong evidence that their use may be unnecessary, does not add value for patients, or may even cause harm.

“When a patient asks me for something, like antibiotics for their cold, I explain why that usually isn’t a good idea,” said Dr Haddad. “For busy doctors, those conversations are important but tough, because they take time. We’re been doing our homework on overuse of tests and treatments, and we want patients to be open to understanding the science behind why we might caution against pursuing tests or treatments for specific conditions.”

Choosing Wisely Canada encourages patients to learn more about their care options. Initially launched in April 2014 and modelled on the successful campaign in the United States, the initiative has so far seen 102 recommendations to doctors and patients released.

“Informed patients help doctors provide them with the best care possible,” said Dr. Haddad. “We’re pleased to play a role in raising awareness about this important campaign.”

Aleisha Bosch, New Brunswick Medical Society, (506)458-8860 ext. 633,

Founded in 1867, the New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) is the professional association representing all physicians in New Brunswick. It is a provincial division of the Canadian Medical Association. Its twin goals are to represent and serve physicians, and advocate for the health of New Brunswickers. Over a hundred New Brunswick doctors sit on its Board and Committees, representing the 1600 doctors in the province.