Newsroom

Our Stories

Dr. Lisa Hicks leads American Hematology Society’s second Choosing Wisely list questioning five common tests and treatments

Toronto, December 9, 2014

Dr. Lisa Hicks
Dr. Lisa Hicks

Dr. Lisa Hicks leads American Hematology Society’s second Choosing Wisely list questioning five common tests and treatments The American Society of Hematology (ASH), the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to the causes and treatments of blood disorders, today named five additional commonly used tests, treatments, and procedures in hematology that physicians and patients should question in certain circumstances. These additional items join an initial list of five practices to question that the Society released last year as part of the Choosing Wisely® campaign.

Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation that aims to prompt conversations between patients and physicians about the necessity and potential harm of certain procedures.

“Unnecessary treatments or tests not only add waste to the health-care system, but in some cases they also expose our patients to a risk of harm,” said Dr. Lisa Hicks of St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto and chair of the ASH Choosing Wisely Task Force. “ASH developed its second Choosing Wisely list to help hematologists manage the utilization and delivery of patient-care resources. The Society encourages hematologists to consider these recommendations in all facets of their work including patient care, teaching, innovation, and research.”

The group identified five new evidence-based recommendations that hematologists and their patients should question:

  • Don't treat with an anticoagulant for more than three months in a patient with a first venous thromboembolism occurring in the setting of a major transient risk factor.
  • Don’t routinely transfuse patients with sickle cell disease for chronic anemia or uncomplicated pain crisis without an appropriate clinical indication.
  • Don’t perform baseline or routine surveillance computed tomography (CT) scans in patients with asymptomatic, early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Don’t test or treat for suspected heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) in patients with a low pre-test probability of HIT.
  • Don’t treat patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura in the absence of bleeding or a very low platelet count.

The second ASH Choosing Wisely list was developed using a rigorous evidence-based methodology that incorporated suggestions from ASH members and prioritized avoiding harm to patients above all other considerations. The goal of the list is to start conversations both within the hematology community and among physicians and their patients about how everyone can maximize the quality of hematologic care.

The complete Choosing Wisely list is available at www.hematology.org/choosingwisely and was also highlighted in a manuscript published in Blood.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.