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Watch this ‘Choosing Wisely’ video — you’ll be happy you did

James McCormack, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia, has released another terrific — and highly entertaining — educational video aimed at helping all of us make better health care decisions.

Called “Choosing Wisely,” the video is a parody of Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy.”

It’s designed, according to the video’s opening credits, to help patients choose care that is “supported by evidence, truly necessary, not a duplication [and] free from harm.”

And it gets that quite serious message across with considerable humor — and joy.

I challenge you to watch the video without smiling — and without, at the very least, tapping your fingers and toes in sync with the music. (As NPR reported recently, there may be neurological reasons why humans find it difficult to resist the urge to dance to songs with rhythmic patterns similar to those in “Happy.”)

‘Less is more … often the best way’

Here’s my transcription of the parady video’s lyrics, but, believe me, it’s much, much more fun to listen to them being sung:

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say, [but] less is more can often be the best way.
There are tests, treatments, [and] procedures you don’t really need.
While some are very useful, some at best mislead.

Now we’re choosing wisely … Body scans, annual exams, can do more harm than good.
We’re choosing wisely … Imaging for minor things may not give you the truth.
We’re choosing wisely … Antibiotics for a cold will do nothing but make you ill.
We’re choosing wisely …. A routine screen for many things is often overkill.

You tell me you’re worried you got this and that. (Yeah)
Well, I truly care so don’t hold it back. (Yeah)
But from what I can see, you’ll be just fine. (Yeah)
You don’t need that test. Let’s not waste our time.

Here’s why:

We’re choosing wisely … Body scans, annual exams, can do more harm than good.
We’re choosing wisely … Imaging for minor things may not give you the truth.
We’re choosing wisely … Antibiotics for a cold will do nothing but make you ill.
We’re choosing wisely … A routine screen for many things is often overkill.

Hey, come on. Huh.

We want to keep you free from harm.
That test result can cause alarm.
That treatment makes you feel run down.
That drug could spin you round and round.
I want to keep you free from harm.
For that procedure you’ll wear a hospital gown.
Doing nothing can be your lucky charm.

Wise choices

Then, as the singing (and dancing) continues, words [with Canadian-British spellings] appear on the screen, informing us of some of the wise health care choices that people have made:

“Decided to be more active than take a sleeping medication.”
“Low back pain got better with no imaging.”
“Didn’t need annual cardiac imaging.”
“Decided to dance more rather than get a repeat bone density scan.”
“Didn’t need a routine general health check.”
“Discussed if labour induction was really necessary.”
“Definitely didn’t need antipsychotic medication.”
“Refused to give his young children cough and cold medications.”
“Didn’t control his blood pressure or glucose TOO tightly.”
“Was given an estimate of the benefits and harms for all tests, treatments and procedures … and engaged in shared decision making.”

The video ends with some simple health advice: “Be active. Eat healthy and not too much. Don’t smoke. Enjoy life, [for] that’s what it’s all about.”

Watching McCormack’s new video will definitely help you with that last piece of advice.

An online resource for ‘Choosing Wisely’

And when you’re done watching the video, I recommend you check out the website of the ongoing “Choosing Wisely” campaign, a project launched three years ago by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation and Consumer Reports magazine “to help physicians, patients and other health care stakeholders think and talk about overuse of health care resources in the United States.” It includes lists of overused medical tests and procedures that various physician groups have agreed offer little benefit — and in some cases harm — to patients.

Hat tip: Health News Review

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 07/11/2014 - 12:01 pm.

    Good Video

    And damn funny!

  2. Submitted by Bill Kahn on 07/11/2014 - 08:30 pm.

    How come all the Los Angeles, CA footage from a Canada guy?

    Is it because LA is the epicenter of wasteful medical care?

    The seismic activity, the crime, the San Fernando Valley Fever. They’re dying out there, or think that they are.

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