On May 11 and 12, Choosing Wisely Canada’s National Meeting, in collaboration with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), made its return to an in-person event at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto. With panoramic views of the Toronto skyline, the two-day event welcomed over 230 participants in plenary and breakout sessions to discuss and engage on topics related to overuse in health care. For those who could not attend in person, a livestream of plenary sessions was available, allowing participants to join from across the country and beyond.
The opening remarks delivered by Dr. Wendy Levinson set the tone by recognizing the unwavering commitment of the Choosing Wisely Canada community in delivering exceptional quality care despite the immense pressures of the pandemic. Dr. Levinson’s remarks served as a reminder that the National Meeting remains an opportunity to celebrate the collective achievements of this dedicated community.
“When people change the way that they think, they change the way they treat people.”
– Dr. Alika LaFontaine, President, CMA
The opening keynote panel Overuse and Health Care Equity featured a trio of leading voices on the topic that included Dr. Alika Lafontaine, President of the CMA, Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam, Vice President of Education at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Dr. Shail Rawal, a general internist at University Health Network. With pointed examples of how institutional and systemic forces can result in health care that disproportionately disadvantage different segments of the population, the panel weighed in on the way forward. Nestled within the broader theme of equity in health care was a through-provoking discussion about the interplay of overuse and underuse, our overreliance on chemical and physical restraints, as well as language barriers at the bedside and their equity implications. A recognition of understanding human experience, system improvements to health care services, and empowering leaders in equity-focused change closed out the opening panel.
In between plenaries, attendees had the opportunity to network and participate in concurrent sessions that fostered lively exchanges of ideas. Sessions covered timely topics on preventing burnout, behavioural science, quality improvement and data analytics, and appropriate prescribing. Featured in concurrent sessions were selected abstracts that showcased innovative Choosing Wisely initiatives happening across the country. To view all abstracts submitted this year, browse the 2023 Abstract Book that features projects related to quality improvement, patient engagement, medical education, and more.
Day two of the National Meeting kicked off with an opening panel on the State of Overuse in Canada. Kathleen Morris from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Dr. Christine Soong from Sinai Health, and Dr. Shannon Ruzycki from the University of Calgary shared valuable insights into the multifaceted approaches required to reduce overuse. Key takeaways from this session included the importance of refining system processes that drive overuse, engaging the public and patients, and sustaining implementation efforts in practice.
The closing plenary, Choosing Wisely and the Climate Crisis, provided a timely and thought-provoking discussion on climate change as the defining crisis of our time. Dr. Wendy Levinson and Dr. Kaveh Shojania took different positions on the role of clinicians in tackling the climate crisis, which sparked a lively and introspective discussion with the audience that perfectly capped off the two-way meeting.
Choosing Wisely Canada extends a sincere thank you to the National Meeting planning committee, staff, presenters, and attendees. Special thanks are also extended to the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, Healthcare Excellence Canada, Canadian Medication Appropriateness and Deprescribing Network and Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care for their generous support of this year’s event.
Next year will mark a decade since the official launch of Choosing Wisely Canada. We look forward to welcoming attendees to our tenth-anniversary event celebrating the significant achievements of this community. Stay up to date about our 2024 Choosing Wisely Canada National Meeting by joining our mailing list.