Facts About Unnecessary Care

Up to 30% of health care in Canada is unnecessary.

Unnecessary tests and treatments are not only clinically useless, they potentially expose patients to harm, lead to more testing to investigate false positives, contribute to unwarranted stress for patients and their families, and consume precious time and resources for everyone involved.

So why do they occur? Well, there are many possible drivers of unnecessary care, including:

About Choosing Wisely Canada

Choosing Wisely Canada is a national campaign to help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments, and make smart and effective care choices.

Choosing Wisely Canada launched on April 2, 2014, and is organized by a small team from the University of Toronto, Canadian Medical Association and St. Michael’s Hospital.

It is part of a global movement that began in the United States in 2012, which now spans 20 countries across 5 continents.

Choosing Wisely Canada inspires and engages health care professionals to take leadership on reducing unnecessary care, and enables them with simple tools and resources that make it easier to choose wisely.

We do this by partnering with professional societies representing different clinical specialties to come up with lists of “Things Clinicians and Patients Should Question.” These lists of recommendations identify tests and treatments commonly used in each specialty that are not supported by evidence, and could expose patients to harm.

We also partner with a wide range of medical associations, health system as well as patient organizations to help put these recommendations into practice.

Campaign Partners

Professional Societies: Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada | Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry | Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry | Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine | Canadian Anesthesiologists Society | Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver | Canadian Association of Advanced Practice Nurses | Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses | Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians | Canadian Association of General Surgeons | Canadian Association of Hospital Dentists | Canadian Association of Medical Biochemists | Canadian Association of Medical Oncologists | Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists | Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine | Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons | Canadian Association of Pathologists | Canadian Association of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation | Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology | Canadian Association of Radiologists | Canadian Blood and Marrow Transplant Group | Canadian Cardiovascular Society | Canadian College of Medical Geneticists | Canadian Critical Care Society | Canadian Geriatrics Society | Canadian Headache Society | Canadian Hematology Society | Canadian IBD Network of Researchers for Healthcare Growth and Improvement | Canadian Neurological Society | Canadian Nurses Association | Canadian Orthopaedic Association | Canadian Paediatric Society | Canadian Pediatric Neurosurgery Study Group | Canadian Pharmacists Association | Canadian Psychiatric Association | Canadian Rheumatology Association | Canadian Society for Surgical Oncology | Canadian Society for Transfusion Medicine | Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery | Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists | Canadian Society of Hospital Medicine | Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists | Canadian Society of Internal Medicine | Canadian Society of Nephrology | Canadian Society of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery | Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians | Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists | Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism | Canadian Spine Society | Canadian Urological Association | Canadian Association of Gastroenterology | Long Term Care Medical Directors Association of Canada | Occupational Medicine Specialists of Canada | Public Health Physicians of Canada | Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada | Trauma Association of Canada

Medical Associations: Alberta Medical Association | Canadian Medical Association | Doctors Manitoba | Doctors Nova Scotia | New Brunswick Medical Society | Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association | Northwest Territories Medical Association | Ontario Medical Association | Quebec Medical Association | Saskatchewan Medical Association | Yukon Medical Association

Health System Organizations: Canada Safe Imaging | Canadian Agency for Drugs & Technologies in Health | Canadian Association of Professors of Medicine | Canadian Deprescribing Network | Canadian Federation of Medical Students | Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement | Canadian Institute for Health Information | Canadian Partnership Against Cancer | Canadian Patient Safety Institute | Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care | College of Family Physicians of Canada | Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec | Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec | Health Quality Ontario | Ontario College of Family Physicians | Ontario Medical Students Association | Resident Doctors of Canada | Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada | Touchstone Institute

Patient Organizations: Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance | Canadian Association of Retired Teachers | Canadian Association of Social Workers | Consumer Reports Health | Crohn’s and Colitis Canada | Gastrointestinal Society | National Association of Federal Retirees | Patients Canada | Patients for Patient Safety Canada | Retired Teachers of Ontario

Financial Supporters: ABIM Foundation | Bertelsmann Stiftung | Canadian Medical Association | Diagnostic Services Manitoba | Government of Alberta | Government of Canada | Government of New Brunswick | Government of Newfoundland and Labrador | Government of Northwest Territories | Government of Nova Scotia | Government of Nunavut | Government of Ontario | Government of Prince Edward Island | Government of Saskatchewan | Government of Yukon | Health Quality Ontario | Medical Society of Prince Edward Island | Medical Society of Prince Edward Island | Quebec Medical Association | Saskatchewan Medical Association | St. Michael’s Hospital | The Commonwealth Fund | University of Toronto

Choosing Wisely Canada does not accept financial support from pharmaceutical, medical devices or any other life sciences companies.

Getting Involved

Choosing Wisely Canada is an open campaign, meaning that anyone can participate, and there are many ways to do so. You can:

The Choosing Wisely Canada brand may only be used for the purpose of participating in the campaign and furthering its mission. If you are using or planning to use the Choosing Wisely Canada brand in your work, please read the Brand Book to understand the conditions under which the brand may and may not be used, and to access our brand assets.

Download the Brand Book

Core Staff

Clinical Leads