It was standing room only at McNally Robinson Booksellers where the University of Manitoba Café Scientifique featured a thought-provoking topic called Choosing Wisely: Why More Medical Tests Are Not Always Better.

A crowd of approximately 80 people filled event space lined with bookcases on the evening of September 13.

Dr. Eric Bohm, Professor, Surgery, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Director, Health Systems Performance, George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation; Hip & Knee Reconstruction Surgeon, Concordia Joint Replacement Group, Concordia Hospital and Executive Co-Sponsor, Choosing Wisely Manitoba, moderated the discussion with the panel, which was made up of three medical care experts:

  • Dr. Roger Süss, Assistant Professor, Family Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Family Physician, Northern Connection Medical Centre.
  • Dr. Alex Singer, Associate Professor, Family Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Family Physician, Family Medical Centre, Inpatient Family Medicine, St. Boniface Hospital and Director, Manitoba Primary Care Research Network
  • Dr. Michelle Driedger, Professor, Community Health Sciences, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; former Canada Research Chair in Environment and Health Risk Communication

Dr. Süss spoke first, offering insight into how doctors think and what goes into their decision process when they are deciding whether or not to order tests for patients.

Next, Dr. Alex Singer, one of Choosing Wisely Manitoba’s Clinical Champions, shared how some screening tests, such as Vitamin D tests and Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) tests, can actually cause more harm than good and how he is working with Choosing Wisely Manitoba to reduce the number of unnecessary and potentially harmful tests.

Dr. Michelle Driedger followed and discussed the importance of trust in a patient/physician relationship. She explained that interactions between health care providers and patients that are conducted thoughtfully and with sensitivity lead to better outcomes for both parties.

Dr. Bohm then opened the floor for questions from the audience, and an engaged discussion followed over the next hour. Audience members asked thoughtful questions, such as how technology and digitalization will affect health care, when getting a second opinion is appropriate, and how to determine what is considered too much or not enough testing.

“I think it’s important to talk about issues related to unnecessary testing and the role that both the physician and the patient play in achieving optimal medical care,” said, Dr. Bohm, “This event is a great way to engage the public and raise awareness about these topics.”

Thank you to all panelists and participants who attended the event and to the University of Manitoba and McNally Robinson Booksellers for organizing a thought-provoking and educational seminar on why more medical tests are not always better.

Choosing Wisely Manitoba in the Spotlight at U of M’s Café Scientifique!