On March 7, 2012, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a report highlighting the growing momentum behind efforts within the medical profession to promote good stewardship of clinical resources. This movement began with a project of the National Physicians Alliance, funded by a grant from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation and led by Dr. Stephen R. Smith, a family physician and founding member of the NPA. Similar efforts are gaining momentum through the ABIMF’s Choosing Wisely Campaign.
“Americans are concerned about the quality and cost of health care,” says project leader Dr. Stephen R. Smith. “Consistent with the Affordable Care Act’s achievements toward building a smarter and safer health care system that rewards quality care over quantity care, we in the medical community seek to develop meaningful, evidence-based practice reforms that will help patients receive the best care while eliminating wasteful and even harmful care. Practicing responsible medicine means always doing what is right for the patient while being mindful that resources are finite—knowing that doing more does not always mean doing right.”
The NPA’s Good Stewardship Project created panels of practicing physicians in the primary care specialties of family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics who identified common clinical activities that lacked scientific evidence supporting their routine use—habits that if changed could lead to higher quality care and better use of finite clinical resources. The research appeared in the Archives of Internal medicine in May 2011: “The Top 5 Lists in Primary Care: Meeting the Responsibility of Professionalism.” The project is being expanded to develop educational videos for physicians and patients that promote better understanding of evidence-based decision making and clearer communication for situations where less intervention is actually better care.
Uniting physicians across medical specialties, the National Physicians Alliance creates research and education programs that promote health and foster active engagement of physicians with their communities to achieve high quality, affordable health care for all. The NPA offers a professional home to physicians who share a commitment to professional integrity and health justice.