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: