UCLA receives $315,000 grant to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics and tests

The department of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA has been awarded a $315,000 grant to support an initiative focused on reducing the use of tests and treatments that national specialty medical societies judge as overused.

The UCLA Department of Medicine will lead a coalition of six partners including the Los Angeles County health services and public health departments, the county primary care practice based research network, the Wellness Center at Historic General Hospital, and the Society of General Internal Medicine. The partners will focus on reducing imaging for nonspecific low back pain, pre-operative testing and antibiotics for viral-based upper respiratory illness.

The ABIM Foundation awarded the grant to UCLA, along with similar grants to six other organizations participating in the Choosing Wisely® campaign. The aim of the effort is to reduce the use of  unnecessary tests and  treatments that may possibly be harmful for patients. 

The grant program, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will bring together health care organizations from across the country that have built strong alliances to focus on implementation of at least three Choosing Wisely recommendations, including reducing the use of antibiotics for viral infections by at least 20 percent over nearly three years at participating health systems, hospitals and medical groups in their regions.

The focus on antibiotic overuse was driven by estimates from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that more than half the antibiotics used in the United States are prescribed unnecessarily or used improperly. To help educate physicians about the importance of reducing antibiotic overuse, several societies have included recommendations in their Choosing Wisely lists, including the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Family Physicians, andthe Infectious Diseases Society of America. Campaign partner Consumer Reports has also produced a number of patient-friendly resources about antibiotic overuse that are publicly available on its online ‘antibiotics hub’, which includes tools and resources covering a variety of situations patients may encounter.

“All health care is delivered locally. In order to put the Choosing Wisely ideas into practice and make a meaningful difference, we need local partners engaged in having these important conversations with their patients,” said Richard Baron, president and chief executive officer of the ABIM Foundation. “The strong partnerships that UCLA has built will help drive this work forward so that we can reduce waste and overuse in our nation’s health care system together.”

 

The seven initiatives will each receive a grant of $315,000 to advance Choosing Wisely and include:

  • Greater Detroit Area Health CouncilThe Greater Detroit Area Health Council will work with the Michigan State Medical Society, the Detroit Medical Center Physician Hospital, The Henry Ford Physician Network and other partners to reduce unnecessary care in the Detroit region. The Council will focus on reducing the use of antibiotics for viral infections among adults, diagnostic testing for low back pain, and screening for Vitamin D deficiencies.
  • Integrated Healthcare AssociationCalifornia’s Integrated Healthcare Association will partner with provider organizations Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group (San Diego County) and Sutter Health (Sacramento/Central Valley/San Francisco Bay), the California chapter of the American College of Physicians, the Center for Healthcare Decisions, and Blue Shield of California. Their project will aim to reduce the utilization of antibiotics for adult bronchitis, diagnostic testing for low back pain, pre-operative stress testing, imaging for uncomplicated headache and repetitive complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry testing.
  • Maine Quality CountsMaine Quality Counts (MQC) will work with local partners and statewide organizations such as the Maine Medical Association, the Maine Osteopathic Association, Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, Maine Area Agencies on Aging, Mid Coast Health System, Martin’s Point Health Care, Penobscot Community Health Care and St. Joseph Healthcare system. A previous ABIM Foundation Choosing Wisely grantee, MQC’s project will focus on reducing the use of antibiotics for adult bronchitis, diagnostic testing for low back pain, and prescriptions for benzodiazepines for adults 60 and over.
  • North Carolina Healthcare Quality AllianceThe North Carolina Healthcare Quality Alliance is partnering with the North Carolina Medical Society, Duke Medicine, Cornerstone Health Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees. They will focus on reducing the use of antibiotics to treat viral infections in adults, DEXA scans to measure bone density in women younger than 65 and men younger than 70, carotid artery stenosis screening in asymptomatic patients, and annual Pap tests for women between the ages of 30 and 65.
  • UCLA Department of MedicineThe UCLA Department of Medicine will lead a coalition of six partners including the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LAC DHS), the LA County Department of Public Health, the LAC DHS Primary Care Practice Based Research Network, The Wellness Center at Historic General Hospital, and the Society of General Internal Medicine. The partners will focus on reducing imaging for nonspecific low back pain, pre-operative testing, and antibiotics for viral-based upper respiratory illness.
  • Washington Health AllianceThe Washington Health Alliance, a previous ABIM Foundation Choosing Wisely grantee, will continue to partner with the Washington State Medical Association, another Foundation grantee, and provider organizations including the Group Health Cooperative and Swedish Health Services. They will target the overuse of antibiotics for upper respiratory viral infections, imaging for uncomplicated headaches and overly frequent Pap tests for women between the ages of 30 and 65.
  • Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare QualityThe Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) will lead an effort to reduce the utilization of antibiotics for viral infections in adults, imaging for low back pain, imaging for headaches and inpatient blood utilization. A past ABIM Foundation partner in advancing Choosing Wisely, WCHQ will partner in this effort with provider organizations Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and Monroe Clinic, and the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians and the Wisconsin Medical Society.
The announcement marks the second selection of grantees to advance the Choosing Wisely campaign. From 2013 – 2015 , 21 projects led by state medical societies, specialty societies and regional health collaboratives helped educate physicians about the recommendations and build skills to have conversations with patients about the care they need. Highlights of their work can be found in a new report entitled “Advancing the Choosing Wisely Campaign in Clinical Practices and Communities.
Media Contact:
Enrique Rivero
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