How to Make Wise Decisions with Your Doctor

Does more care always equal better health? According to the Institute of Medicine, about 30 percent of health care spending in the U.S. is wasted on unnecessary care – care that doesn’t help patients live better or longer.

That’s why physicians across the country have come up with more than 300 recommendations for situations when less care may actually be better. For example, pediatricians avoid prescribing antibiotics for a sinus infection unless it’s a bacterial infection. Or a doctor orders an X-ray for a patient with lower-back pain only if certain symptoms indicate that it would be helpful.

It’s up to you and your doctor to make wise health care decisions together. The Choosing Wisely campaign can help.

There is a general feeling that more is better. It’s absolutely clear that in medicine that certainly is not always true.

Dr. Melinda Ashton, chief quality officer for Hawaii Pacific Health
  • Is More Health Care Always Better?


  • Talking With Your Doctor


  • Get the Right Care at the Right Time


Videos provided by Consumer Reports

Learn how to choose wisely

To avoid unnecessary and possibly harmful medical interventions, medical societies have partnered with Consumer Reports to create the Choosing Wisely campaign.

Choosing Wisely can help you get the right care at the right time. Read the campaign brochures, which tell you what tests and treatments are overused and don’t always provide meaningful benefits.

How to talk with Doc

Make the most of your next visit. If you’ve ever left a doctor’s office and realized you forgot to ask something, you’re not alone. You and your doctor are a team. Work closely with your doctor. Listen carefully, be open with your answers, and share what matters most to you. Explore options and choose wisely together – it’s good for your health. Before you get a test, treatment, or procedure, be sure you understand what’s happening. When you ask questions and discuss different health care options, you’re taking an active role in your treatment and strengthening your relationship with your doctor.

Print this “Talk with Doc” card to help you when you see your doctor.

Print and take these questions with you to the doctor.