Choosing Wisely®: A watershed moment in health care

We are both proud of and humbled by all that it has accomplished. Choosing Wisely generated countless conversations in the exam room and across the health system, stimulated thousands of journal articles, inspired more than two dozen similar campaigns in other countries, and influenced many projects that explored ways to reduce overuse and unnecessary services and improve patient outcomes.

Advanced the National Dialogue

The goal of the ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign was to spark conversations between clinicians and patients about what tests, treatments, and procedures are needed – and which ones are not.

It began in 2012 with nine national specialty societies (representing 375,000 clinicians) offering 45 examples of tests or treatments that were commonly used in their fields but lacked strong supporting evidence. Between 2012 and 2023, more than 80 specialty societies highlighted additional examples. While these examples are no longer maintained and available on this website, specialty societies are encouraged to publish individual lists.

Doctor holding hands with a patient
5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before You Get Any Test, Treatment or Procedure



Do you really need that medical test or treatment? The answer may be no.



The campaign featured materials to help patients have conversations with their clinicians, and empower them to ask questions about what tests and treatments were right for them.

Engaged Organizations & Professionals on an International Scale

80+ specialty society partners

700+ recommendations of tests and treatments that specialty societies said were overused or unnecessary

30+ countries reached

Changed Industry Mindsets and Influenced Policy

Choosing Wisely’s impact has been mentioned in thousands of media articles and referenced in 300+ academic journal articles.

  • “[Patient welfare] is currently threatened by the unpredictable financial future of our health care system. But if patients and physicians choose wisely, trusting each other as they do so, our shared future may improve.”

  • “Patients need trustworthy information to help them better understand that more care is not always better care, and in some cases can actually cause more harm than good.”

  • Choosing Wisely has created a principal pathway through which patients and their doctors can discuss when health care services may not be needed.”

  • Choosing Wisely fosters the autonomy of patients, physicians and medical societies while building their capacity to talk about overuse in new ways and supporting them in adopting new behaviors as they find their own way forward.”

  • Choosing Wisely might best be described as a tool that can help reduce overuse, but it still needs an actor to pick up the tool and use it.”

  • “Interventions built on the Choosing Wisely recommendations can be effective at changing practice patterns to reduce the use of low-value care.”

Inspired Progress in Medical Training and Professional Development

Through the creation of training modules and programs like Choosing Wisely STARS, Choosing Wisely became a key tool in medical training and professional development.

Photo of a simulation tool developed by Kognito to build the skills of patients and health professionals

The spirit of Choosing Wisely lives on in our continued work to improve health care

With the increasing recognition of the role trust – or the lack thereof – plays in the quality of care patients receive, the ABIM Foundation is now focusing its efforts and resources on the Building Trust initiative.

ABIM Foundation Building Trust