This year, Choosing Wisely Canada’s National Meeting went virtual. In response to the cancellation of our annual in-person meeting, we offered a virtual event on May 26, to bring together the community of clinicians, patients and public representatives, and campaign partners. Despite the challenging times and online format, the meeting brought together over 500 participants throughout the day for knowledge sharing and discussion.
The Virtual National Meeting opened with remarks from Choosing Wisely Canada’s Chair, Dr. Wendy Levison. Dr. Levinson spoke about the campaign’s recent development of COVID-19 resources and future plans to raise awareness about the need to use health care resources wisely. At Choosing Wisely Canada, we value input on how the campaign can contribute to efforts during and as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. A poll question was posed to participants and asked, “what is one priority area Choosing Wisely Canada should focus on as we emerge from the pandemic?” The results showed that participants felt the campaign could focus on developing strategies to avoid reintroduction of low-value care when health systems resume regular services. The campaign has already undertaken work in this area that will be released in Fall 2020.
Our opening keynote presentation set the stage for the day with a thoughtful and informative session delivered by Dr. Sandy Buchman, Canadian Medical Association President and Palliative Care Physician and the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care at Sinai Health System in Toronto. Dr. Buchman spoke about the importance of an integrated palliative care approach and how this can contribute to improved patient care and resource stewardship in our health care system.
The afternoon presentation delivered by Dr. Yulia Lin, Hematologist at Sunnybrook Health Science, provided an overview of the new national campaign, Using Blood Wisely. The campaign focuses on reducing unnecessary red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. Dr. Lin informed participants about RBC interventions and encouraged hospitals to join the national initiative. Hospitals that join gain access to tools, resources, mentoring, and will be recognized for their efforts to conserve this vital health care resource. Those interested in Using Blood Wisely can sign up now for more information.
Recognizing Choosing Wisely Efforts
The virtual meeting featured abstract sessions to showcase leading examples of Choosing Wisely initiatives taking place across the country. Speakers provided a snapshot of their interventions to reduce overuse while leading discussions on the challenges and opportunities of implementing recommendations in practice. Although we were not able to offer all content from the in-person meeting, the 2020 Abstract Book features relevant submissions that reflect the breadth of work taking place across the country and beyond.
We thank our National Meeting Planning Committee for their contributions. We also thank our sponsors, the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, for their generous support of this meeting.
Finally, we extend our deepest thanks to the community of clinicians, patients and public representatives, system leaders and administrators for their continued engagement in Choosing Wisely during these challenging times. The response efforts to COVID-19 have demonstrated the resilience and commitment of the health care community. We look forward to future collective efforts to improve the quality of health care in Canada.