Boston, Mass., March 19, 2015 – The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) has released a series of brief reports on several commonly overused medical tests and treatments to aid practice groups in their efforts to reduce unnecessary care as part of Choosing Wisely®, the lead initiative of the ABIM Foundation.

In the brief analyses, available on the ICER website, ICER summarizes the recommendations of specialty societies, explores current practice variation and costs, and examines the sociological forces that contribute to the overuse use of the tests and treatments. Each report concludes with a summary rating of the extent and harms of overuse, the difficulty of practice change, and the potential for savings, and will be used by practice groups to prioritize their efforts to decrease the inappropriate use of the tests and treatments.

In addition to being available to any organization seeking to implement Choosing Wisely, the reports will specifically support seven new projects launching in mid-2015 as part of the ABIM Foundation’s second round of Choosing Wisely grants. Over the course of nearly three years grantees will focus on reducing at least three areas of waste or overuse, including the use of antibiotics for viral infections and two additional tests or treatments from the society Choosing Wisely recommendations. The grant program, as well as ICER’s work in developing the reports is made possible through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“ICER’s work ensures that organizations begin their initiatives with a strong understanding of the challenges and opportunities for practice change that lie before them,” said Daniel Wolfson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the ABIM Foundation. “These analyses help the Choosing Wisely initiative thrive by providing practice groups with information to decide for themselves what actions will make the greatest impact on reducing wasteful practices.”

“An important part of our mission at ICER is aligned closely with the goal of Choosing Wisely: help physicians and patients understand how to apply evidence to identify ways that patients can receive better care at lower cost,” stated Steve Pearson, MD, MSc, President of ICER. “Our rigorous, objective analyses will support important practice change efforts throughout the country and should lead to meaningful change for patients.”

The analyses encompass a broad range of tests and treatments including percutaneous coronary intervention for stable ischemic heart disease, antibiotics for acute bronchitis, and imaging for nonspecific low back pain. There is an immense potential to reduce overuse across the topics. For example, it is estimated that there are more than 11 million avoidable outpatient prescriptions for acute bronchitis annually, affecting between five and seven million people in the United States.

About ICER

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is an independent non-profit health care research organization dedicated to improving the interpretation and application of evidence in the health care system. ICER directs two core programs: the California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF), and the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC). For more information about ICER, please visit ICER’s website, www.icer-review.org.

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