April 10, 2014 — The Ontario Association of Radiologists (OAR) strongly supports the Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) campaign, launched by the Canadian Medical Assn. CWC is a campaign that encourages physicians and patients to engage in healthy conversations ensuring access to medically necessary tests, treatments and procedures, and to help them make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality patient care. The campaign is modeled after the Choosing Wisely campaign in the United States, which was launched in April 2012.
The CWC is led by eight national medical societies, including the Canadian Association of Radiology (CAR), to develop lists of "Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question." These lists identify tests, treatments or procedures that are not supported by evidence, and/or could unnecessarily cause patients to be exposed to radiation.
The five areas that were addressed by CAR include:
- Criteria for lower back pain
- Minor head trauma
- Uncomplicated headache
- CT for appendicitis in children
- Ankle x-rays in adults
The lists are meant to remind referring physician colleagues and patients to determine an appropriate treatment plan together. A complete list of recommendations is available at choosingwiselycanada.org.
"While we are supportive of the CWC and its recommendations, the OAR continues to work to ensure high quality patient care and to advocate for improved patient access to a broad range of imaging technologies," said OAR President, Mark Prieditis. "We remain deeply concerned that the Ontario Ministry of Health has chronically underfunded the purchase and operation of full-field digital mammography (FFDM) equipment, which is the best diagnostic equipment to detect breast cancer."
Ontario still lags behind the rest of Canada in its adoption of digital mammography services, an issue that the OAR first addressed in 2010. FFDM equipment, with its capability of adding breast tomosynthesis (a method for performing higher resolution imaging) has proven to detect up to 30 per cent more cancers when used to screen women for breast cancer. The OAR recommends that all women consult with their physicians regarding regular breast screening, at the age of 40.
In addition to advocating for improved breast screening in Ontario, the OAR is actively working towards the re-launch of its Canadian Bone Mineral Densitometry (CBMD) Facility Accreditation Program. The popular four-year pilot project, launched in 2009, was put on hold in 2013 when the MOHLTC abruptly terminated its funding and commitment to provide accreditation as part of the province's Osteoporosis Strategy. The OAR is currently restructuring the project as an online program that will be launched in 2015.