Canadian Medical Association

Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) is a national campaign that helps clinicians and patients have conversations about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures. We surveyed e-Panel members about their awareness of CWC and CMA’s role in the campaign, their use of the resources CWC offers physicians, and more.

November 2016

Distributed to:
3,864 e-Panel members


Response rate:

Want to share your perspective? Visit the CMA Member Voice e-Panel page for more information on  how to participate in future surveys.

Physicians are extremely reluctant to tell their patients some imaging isn't indicated for both patient peace of mind and fear of litigation. That has to be addressed.

-Member Voice e-Panel respondent

What members said

Awareness of the campaign and CMA’s involvement

88.4% of survey respondents were aware of the CWC campaign. Among those who knew about CWC, 77.3% were aware of CMA’s role as a leading partner in the campaign.

Use of CWC resources

48.4% of respondents indicated they do not use CWC’s lists in their clinical practice and 42.4% said they do. 9.3% said the question did not apply to their practice.

We asked respondents who do use CWC lists how often they use them. Of the 284 respondents who said they use CWC lists in their practice:

  • 15.5% reported very frequent usage
  • 31.0% reported frequent usage
  • 48.2% said they used them occasionally
  • 5.3% indicated rare usage

When asked if their patients had sufficient tools and information to make informed decisions about appropriate use of services, 66.0% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed.

47.7% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they as physicians need more support and tools to help make decisions about which services were inappropriate for their patients.

I know about the initiative but not the tools or recommendations. More guidance on a) where they are located and b) how to use them would be helpful.

-Member Voice e-Panel respondent

Effectiveness of the CWC campaign

When asked if the CWC campaign has helped reduce unnecessary use of health care services:

  • 52.0% were unsure
  • 30% agreed (27.6%) or strongly agreed (2.4%)
  • 18.1% of respondents disagreed (16.4%) or strongly disagreed (1.6%)

I think it is too early to measure the impact of CWC. I think that patient information (such as posters and handouts/brochures) should be more prominently distributed. This would be a useful way for the CMA to contribute and, also, increase the CMA's visibility.

-Member Voice e-Panel respondent

Tools to help implement CWC recommendations

We asked e-Panel members what tools or resources would help them apply CWC recommendations in their clinical practice. Suggestions included:

  • Penalty/incentive program for physicians to follow recommendations
  • Public awareness and education materials (e.g., pamphlets/handouts, posters in clinics and ER rooms, pediatric resources)
  • Patient/media education campaign
  • Mobile app with resources organized by disease/specialty/symptoms (separate for physicians and patients)
  • More sharable electronic content (e.g., apps, tools, programs, PDFs)
  • Evidence-based reasoning behind the recommendations
  • Continuing medical education credits and/or Royal College requirements
  • Endorsement from provincial colleges and provincial/territorial medical associations
  • Electronic medical record tools (e.g., custom forms, stamps, reminders, recommendations)
  • Simplified guidelines/criteria for ordering medical tests — more accessible for physicians and patients and more understandable for patients
  • Certain tests marked with an asterisk to indicate that CWC recommendations exist for that test

What’s next

As a founding partner of CWC, we’ll continue to look for opportunities to promote awareness of the campaign’s goals and objectives. That includes patient and physician tools that support the appropriate use of tests, treatments and procedures.

Other e-Panel survey summaries

See what CMA members had to say about other health topics:

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