Aim: As part of the “Choosing wisely” campaign expert-driven recommendations of inappropriate interventions which lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment are being published. The aim of our work was to describe an innovative method for developing recommendations together with general practitioners (GPs) and to compare the results with the “Choosing wisely” campaign lists as well as with the Swiss “Smarter medicine” shortlist.
Methods: We asked 109 GPs who attended a medical education conference to form groups (of 5 to 7 GPs each) and develop three interventions that are relevant to their work and should be avoided. We then compared the most frequently suggested interventions with those of the “Choosing wisely” campaign list and the “Smarter medicine” campaign shortlist. Finally, we asked the Swiss Young GPs Association (JHaS) members for additional suggestions.
Results: Five groups suggested avoidance of check-up examinations, especially in younger or asymptomatic individuals. Further unnecessary interventions, which were mentioned with similar frequency, included resting or exercise electrocardiography in asymptomatic individuals and cholesterol analysis in individuals older than 75 years, or statin therapy in primary prevention and/or high age. Four groups suggested avoiding arthroscopy or magnetic resonance imaging of the knee joint after an injury (in the absence of joint instability or blockade), and three groups recommended to avoid imaging diagnostic procedures in patients with unspecific headache (in the absence of red flags). There was no consistency between interventions of the GPs’ list and the list of the Swiss “Smarter medicine” official campaign. The interventions that were most frequently mentioned by the GPs are also present on the lists issued by are present on lists of medical societies that have joined the “Choosing wisely” campaign. The response rate from the Swiss Young GPs association members was impressively low.
Conclusion: The perspective of users (GPs) is crucial for the development of lists of potentially inappropriate interventions. In order to enhance the degree of identification with and adherence to the recommendations. The interventions suggested in our study could lead to further recommendations on interventions to be avoided in primary care, ideally in collaboration with the “Smarter medicine” campaign. Empathic communication with patients about harms and benefits of potentially inappropriate interventions is crucial for the implementation of this policy.