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Making wise choices: Study aims to reduce unnecessary cardiovascular disease testing

February 12, 2018

By Atifa Hamir

When used in the right circumstances, echocardiograms can be a valuable tool in the diagnosis and management of heart disease. However, when used incorrectly, they can lead to unnecessary spending and potential stress for patients, according to Dr. Sacha Bhatia, director of Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV) and staff cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) and University Health Network (UHN).

In a recent study done by Dr. Bhatia and his team called Echo WISELY (Will Inappropriate Scenarios for Echocardiography Lessen Significantly), Dr. Bhatia examined how often Canadian and American doctors ordered echocardiograms for patients, with the intent of seeing how education about the necessity of such tests could affect those numbers. Results showed that doctors who received feedback about how often they ordered the test and received education about when to order them ordered significantly fewer than those who did not. The ultimate outcome was that the intervention reduced financial strain on the healthcare system and helped patients avoid unnecessary stress.

Dr. Bhatia discussed the importance of these results and how they can positively impact the healthcare system and the patient experience in in WIHV's latest annual report. Watch the video below.

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