Choosing wisely

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Under goal 5, the «A sustainable health-care system for Switzerland» road map suggests the following actions: following the example of the Choosing Wisely project initiated by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the medical societies will compile a list of 10 interventions which are unnecessary and should therefore no longer be performed or reimbursed.

The road map was sent to the presidents and secretariats of all the medical societies at the start of 2013, but has largely not been followed. With the exception of the Swiss Society of General Internal Medicine (which has consequently developed its own recommendations) and the Swiss Society of Paediatrics (which adopted the US recommendations), the medical societies have not implemented the recommendations.


This led the SAMS to conducting an online survey of the medical societies and other health-care system bodies in autumn 2014; this included asking about the availability of Choosing Wisely lists or the problems in connection with their creation. At this time, only 2 of the 26 societies which replied had developed appropriate recommendations; reasons given for their absence were lack of staff, expert and financial resources.


Survey results – presentation dated 28 April 2015 (in German)


The Choosing Wisely conference conducted by the Ente Ospedaliere Cantonale in Lugano at the end of September 2015 showed that other countries have progressed significantly further in the implementation of this initiative than is the case in Switzerland. Because of this, the SAMS provided all 23 large medical societies (and the Swiss Nursing Association SBK) with the Choosing Wisely list from the US sister society in November 2015 and requested them to review the ability to apply it in Switzerland.


Of the 23 societies contacted, 14 replied; 10 of these have adopted the US recommendations (partially modified), while 4 have declined to adopt them (usually with justification). It is planned to publish the recommendations approved by the medical societies in the Swiss Medical Bulletin (SÄZ) and to produce patient information leaflets for recommendations which affect frequently requested interventions by 2017.




lic. phil. Valérie Clerc