A few minutes before midnight on the evening of April 3, 2012, I sat alone, exhausted, in a hotel room in Washington, D.C. The room was silent except for the constant click, click, click of my mouse as I nervously refreshed our website every other second. The story had already been broken hours ago by the Associated Press and word was beginning to spread about the next day’s announcement. However, all I cared about was making sure that our website, the central point of information we had worked on for months, went live when it was supposed to.
As April 3 became April 4, the site, as if sensing my anxiety, refreshed and the content — which we had spent countless hours meticulously editing, proofing and polishing — appeared in bright, bold colors illuminating the darkened hotel room. For a few hours, I could rest.
On the morning of April 4, 2012, the ABIM Foundation, along with Consumer Reports and nine medical specialty societies launched the Choosing Wisely® campaign at a standing-room-only event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The ABIM Foundation, long a leader in advancing medical professionalism, created the campaign to encourage physicians and patients to engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and procedures that may provide no benefit, and actually could cause harm. To help begin these conversations, the nine societies created lists of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question.”
The event marked the official unveiling of these lists, and while we were hopeful they would be well-received and embraced by physicians and patients, we were surprised, and, quite frankly, a bit overwhelmed by the response.