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Information for patients and families

What is Choosing Wisely?

Choosing Wisely is an international campaign to help health-care providers and patients have conversations about potentially unnecessary tests and treatments with the aim of collaborating in making smart and effective care choices.

Why have we implemented Choosing Wisely at SickKids?

As the Choosing Wisely movement in Canada had previously focused on adults without any formal recommendations for children (paediatrics), the goal of the Choosing Wisely initiative at SickKids is to encourage conversations about tests and treatments that may not be needed by creating recommendations that are specific to our young patient population and that resonate with paediatric care.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you know what's wrong with my child if you don't do a test?
We will always continue to use appropriate tests for children who need them. The aim of Choosing Wisely is to reduce testing for children whose diagnosis and care will not be impacted by the results of tests.  Many conditions can be identified by a simple examination. While tests can confirm a diagnosis, many do not impact the care that is provided due to the long wait time for results and other factors.

What if my child does need one of these tests, how dangerous are they?
All the tests on Choosing Wisely lists are safe for patients. However, they simply may not be necessary for as many patients as they are currently being used for. The idea with Choosing Wisely is for health-care providers to think more carefully about how they will use the information from a test, if at all. If it's not going to be used, better to avoid the test.

How can I engage in discussions regarding unnecessary tests and treatments with my provider?
Choosing Wisely Canada recommends four (4) questions to ask your health-care provider:

  1. Do I [does my child] really need this test, treatment or procedure?
  2. What are the downsides?
  3. Are there simpler, safer options?
  4. What happens if I [we] do nothing?

For more information see Choosing Wisely Canada