Choosing Wisely campaign encourages public to think twice about common tests

Ads exhorting the public to get tested for things like cancer and heart disease are commonplace. But a new campaign developed by Scott Thornley + Company promotes another side of health care: it encourages patients and doctors to think twice before doing tests, treatments and procedures that are often unnecessary. The initiative, Choosing Wisely Canada, […]

Ads exhorting the public to get tested for things like cancer and heart disease are commonplace. But a new campaign developed by Scott Thornley + Company promotes another side of health care: it encourages patients and doctors to think twice before doing tests, treatments and procedures that are often unnecessary.

The initiative, Choosing Wisely Canada, highlights 40 interventions that offer no benefit to most patients. The list of procedures was created with the help of nine medical organizations, including the Canadian Medical Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and will continue to grow.

Print, radio, online and TV ads will support the initiative across the country, in English and French. They drive consumers towards ChoosingWiselyCanada.org.

“One thing the campaign does well is that it’s very clean,” says Marsh Thornley, vice-president of client services at Scott Thornley + Company. “We’re not trying to get everything across, it’s more just about getting the conversation started… to engage people to reach out to their doctor, or to reach out to the website.”

Thornley says that before working on the ads, he himself thought quality care meant multiple tests. “It’s about the idea of getting people to think of their health care a little differently,” he says.

Dr. Wendy Levinson, founder of Choosing Wisely Canada and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, said the initiative “is about changing the culture that more is always better when it comes to medical tests and procedures.” The Canadian initiative is modeled after the American campaign Levinson helped create, Choosing Wisely, which launched in 2012.

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