Tell Your Patients What They Want to Know

Patients want their doctor to provide health-related information and often feel they are not getting enough information, according to the Choosing Wisely® campaign.

Not only that, physicians overestimate the time they spend educating patients and underestimate how much information their patients want.

Choosing Wisely can help you bridge the gap. The initiative aims to promote conversations between physicians and patients by helping patients choose care that is truly necessary and supported by evidence. Your patients can benefit — and in ways that emerging value-based payment models for physicians are likely to reward. Choosing Wisely says: 

  • Studies have shown that clinical outcomes such as blood pressure improve when physicians provide clear information;
  • Effective patient education improves adherence to plans; and
  • Patient education programs that include self-management result in reduced health care utilization, less lost work time, and improvement in symptoms.

Learn more about the Choosing Wisely initiative with TMA's on-demand Choosing Wisely webinars. (You can earn continuing medical education credits, including ethics.)

Here are some tips from Choosing Wisely for engaging patients in conversation:

  • Explain your recommendations using the Choosing Wisely guidelines —  from medical specialty societies —  as a reference.
  • Keep explanations simple and avoid medical jargon.
  • Acknowledge that guidelines are not a "one size fits all."
  • Be ready to discuss, as necessary, key evidence about risks, benefits, and research supporting the guidelines.
  • Use Choosing Wisely written materials to support your recommendations. You'll also find helpful resources at, such as fact sheets, videos, patient education materials, and more. And check out physician and patient summaries on various conditions from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on the TMA website.

Revised July 2, 2015 

TMA Practice E-tips main page 

Last Updated On

April 19, 2018

Originally Published On

February 07, 2015