There have been many initiatives to improve the utilization of health care resources in general, but none have gained the momentum of Choosing Wisely, which began in the United States in 2012. In Canada, there are approximately 50 professional societies and 327 recommendations. In 2018, the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) agreed to become a campaign partner with Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC).
In 2018, the CSMLS and University of Alberta (UofA) Medical Laboratory Science Division came together and partnered on a project to facilitate the medical laboratory professional’s position in reducing unnecessary testing in the health care system.
The partnership involved the collaborative creation of this website, which is primarily focused on two items. First, a compilation of current CWC recommendations related to the laboratory along with an educational tool to help practitioners understand how they can influence the use of the recommendations. Second, a profession-specific list of recommendations generated through a multi-pronged engagement process. To help maximize the impact of these items, a broader understanding of current MLP attitudes, awareness and engagement related to CWC is needed. Research is required to fill this gap in knowledge.
It is through the deliverables of this partnership and the tools, resources and products produced that we hope to encourage national change in laboratory utilization. We welcome all medical professionals and members of other health professions to join us in this endeavour.
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In late 2018, a call was placed for volunteers to serve on an expert panel to contribute to various aspects of this project. Many answered that call, but ultimately 17 panel members, 6 consultants and 2 emerging professionals representing a wide breadth of experience and geography were selected. Their primary purpose was to help generate a list of CWC recommendations specific to MLPs. This first involved exploring what this could even mean for a profession that is typically regarded as taking on a more technical and responsive role. Through many meetings and brainstorming sessions, an initial list of over 100 potential CWC items was created. Through highly detailed and complex prioritization, ranking and evidence-generating exercises, the expert panel worked to distill that list down to the 5 recommendations that will be published here and on the CWC website.
We are proud of what the Expert Panel has accomplished as Lab Wisely enthusiasts, and we express our deep gratitude for their dedication and time.
There were other individuals who reached out and inquired how they could support the project across time. We would like to thank these CSMLS members, medical laboratory science research practicum students and PhD supervisors for their enthusiasm and contributions as well.