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Choosing Wisely COVID-19 Recommendations

The pandemic has presented complex challenges to health care systems around the world. Rising cases and changes to the delivery of health services put significant strains on the capacity of hospitals and providers to deliver vital care.

This created an increased urgency and focus on using limited health care resources wisely.

In response, Choosing Wisely Canada in collaboration with international Choosing Wisely campaigns led the development of a list of recommendations based on the collective experiences and insights from front line clinicians, patients, and campaign leaders. The list reflects the rapid learning and sharing of experiences from across the globe on public health strategies to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and reduce the strain on health care systems.

Recommendations for the Public (#1-4); Recommendations for Clinicians (#5-9)

Choosing Wisely Campaigns
Last updated: April 30, 2020
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The recommendations represent what was known about COVID-19 in March – April 2020. For updated resources and guidelines regarding COVID-19, follow guidance from your national or local public health authority.


This list recognized that both clinicians and the public play a critical role in resource stewardship. Public recommendations highlighted key areas of the early response efforts including physical distancing, navigating virtual care visits, and a focus on the importance of trusted sources of health information.

Clinician recommendations acknowledged that with a new virus, the science and evidence on how to treat and prevent COVID-19 was changing at a rapid pace. The list further emphasized the importance of critical thinking and considering how more medical interventions can result in harm to patients and waste limited health care resources.

 A Global Movement:

This list represents shared experiences and knowledge of clinicians, patients, and international leaders as the pandemic unfolded in different ways around the world. Since the release of the list, the recommendations were endorsed by Choosing Wisely campaigns in Australia, Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

As hospitals and providers continue to grapple with capacity issues of COVID-19, the work of Choosing Wisely campaigns has never been more relevant. It is imperative to continue to address the problem of non-essential health care services that consume limited resources during the pandemic and beyond.

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