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Start the dialogue

The right treatment, for the right patient, at the right time

By Michelle Osmond

Lynn Wade knows first-hand how medical testing works, having worked in health care for many years and now as a recent cancer survivor.

Ms. Wade is also on the Patient Advisory Council for N.L. Support, a program within Memorial University’s Translational and Personalised Medicine Initiative (TPMI) – the goal of which is to determine the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.

Choosing Wisely N.L.

Ms. Wade was looking for a volunteer opportunity, one in which she could apply both her professional and personal experiences. Her interest was sparked when she saw an ad for patient representatives for the Patient Advisory Council. Once a member, she applied to be a patient representative on the TPMI steering committee and from there became involved in Choosing Wisely N.L.

woman standing at podium addressing participants in a news conference
Lynn Wade, a member of the Patient Advisory Council, speaks about the importance of Choosing Wisely N.L.
Photo: Jennifer Armstrong

Ms. Wade was looking for a volunteer opportunity, one in which she could apply both her professional and personal experiences. Her interest was sparked when she saw an ad for patient representatives for the Patient Advisory Council. Once a member, she applied to be a patient representative on the TPMI steering committee and from there became involved in Choosing Wisely N.L.

Choosing Wisely N.L., a branch of Choosing Wisely Canada, is a program to help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments and make smart and effective choices to ensure high quality care. The program officially launched on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Faculty of Medicine.

“The right patient should receive the right test, at the right time, resulting in less waiting, less unnecessary invasive procedures and less stress and worry for patients.” –Lynn Wade

The program has identified that as much as 30 per cent of health care in Canada is unnecessary; more than 30 per cent of long-term care residents in Canada are taking anti-psychotic drugs, without a diagnosis of psychosis; and 70 per cent of medical diagnoses can be determined by your medical history alone, without needing any tests.

“As a former director of laboratories and as a medical laboratory technologist I was always aware of unnecessary testing and procedures and the associated costs, both from a financial and a patient safety and care perspective,” explained Ms. Wade.

“With the cost of health care at an unsustainable level in our province and across Canada, Choosing Wisely N.L. is a good start, engaging physicians as well as patients to make good decisions. Involving patients to assist in the advocacy for this initiative can hopefully enable more discussions between physicians and their patients about appropriate testing and procedures.”

‘Unique program’

“Choosing Wisely is a unique program in that it is clinician-led with a bottom-up approach to treatment and it is focused on common clinical conditions,” said Dr. Patrick Parfrey, chief scientific officer for TPMI. “It also involves both primary care providers and specialists, and across Canada the program has had remarkably rapid uptake.”

“The right patient should receive the right test, at the right time, resulting in less waiting, less unnecessary invasive procedures and less stress and worry for patients,” added Ms. Wade. “As a new cancer survivor, I am more acutely aware of the importance of timely, appropriate, evidence-based testing for patients. Resources are not infinite and health-care resources must be used wisely.”

For more information about Choosing Wisely N.L., please visit here.


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