Choosing Wisely: Making smart health care decisions

CIHI supports the Choosing Wisely Canada External link, opens in new window campaign to help physicians and patients

  • Engage in conversations about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures
  • Make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality care

How is CIHI contributing to Choosing Wisely Canada?

CIHI is leading a multi-group measurement collaborative to develop methodologies for measuring the rates of selected tests and procedures, which will help ensure that all of Choosing Wisely Canada's physician recommendations are supported by evidence.

By supporting this campaign with comparable, pan-Canadian data on the rates of potentially unnecessary tests and procedures, CIHI and its collaborators are helping to engage patients and their caregivers so that they can make informed choices about their care. 

Read our joint report

Looking at 8 selected CWC recommendations, Unnecessary Care in Canada finds that up to 30% of patients had tests, treatments and procedures that are potentially unnecessary.


The measurement collaborative is supporting the study of the following recommendations:

  • Don't do imaging for minor head trauma unless red flags are present
  • Don't routinely do screening mammography for average-risk women age 40 to 49
  • Don't do imaging for lower-back pain unless red flags are present
  • Don't transfuse red blood cells for arbitrary hemoglobin or hematocrit thresholds
  • Don't perform preoperative testing before low-risk surgeries
  • Don't routinely obtain head CT scans in hospitalized patients with delirium in the absence of risk factors
  • Don't use benzodiazepines and/or other sedative–hypnotics in older adults as a first choice for insomnia, agitation or delirium
  • Don't use atypical antipsychotics as a first-line intervention for insomnia in children and youth

About Choosing Wisely Canada

The Choosing Wisely Canada campaign has been adopted by all provincial and territorial medical associations, which have established or are in the process of establishing mechanisms to support the adoption of the Choosing Wisely Canada lists.

More than 60 Canadian national specialty societies are participating in the campaign, representing a broad spectrum of physicians. These organizations have contributed to a list of more than 150 tests, treatments and procedures that are commonly used but that are not supported by evidence or that could expose patients to unnecessary harm.

The campaign has spread to Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and elsewhere. Choosing Wisely Canada leads the international effort.

Measurement collaborative members

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