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A new resource to assist consumers in making informed decisions about their healthcare is now available.

The Conversation Starter Kit was launched at the 2019 NPS Choosing Wisely Australia National Meeting held in Melbourne. The resource is aimed to promote better health outcomes for consumers.

The kit includes an introductory guide, short presentation and a new video encouraging consumers to ask their healthcare providers questions about the tests, treatments and procedures recommended to them.

Choosing Wisely Australia, an initiative of NPS MedicineWise, is aimed to reduce low-value and unnecessary healthcare practices.

“We are encouraging people to think about the questions they should be asking about their healthcare, to engage in conversations about what care is truly needed – what is helpful and what is not,” NPS MedicineWise CEO Associate Professor Steve Morris said.

Consumers Health Forum CEO Leanne Wells said the Conversation Starter Kit offered a new avenue for consumer health advocates, such as nurses, to drive patient centred care.

“Having good conversations about healthcare options is critical to shared decision making between healthcare providers and consumers.”

The National Meeting at the MCG in Melbourne highlighted some of successes of the 30 health services currently implanting Choosing Wisely Australia initiatives.

These included:

  • a 62% reduction in blood gas analysis for patients in critical care awaiting ward transfer at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne;
  • a significant reduction in unnecessary telemetry following implementation of a nurse discontinuation protocol at John Hopkins Hospital in Qld; and
  • a 20% reduction in pathology and radiology test ordering sustained for one year at Northern Sydney Local Health District.

“The ultimate goal is to create long-term, sustainable change in our hospitals, within primary care and among consumers in relation to reducing low-value and unnecessary healthcare practices,” Associate Professor Morris said.

Central to Choosing Wisely Australia was better communication between healthcare providers and consumers about the appropriateness and necessity of tests, treatments and procedures based on latest evidence, he said.

“The approach of Choosing Wisely is to create a system of thought and process that embeds in health services’ and clinicians’ very core the mantra of giving the right patient the right test at the right time,” Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund Board Chair Doug Travis said.