The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and the New Zealand Association of Optometrists have jointly launched ‘The Choosing Wisely Patient Card,’ a patient-prompter, designed to encourage constructive questions from patients during eye-care consultations.

The prompter was launched at the RANZCO New Zealand Branch Annual Scientific Meeting by Nelson based ophthalmologist Dr Derek Sherwood. The RANZCO NZ Branch and the New Zealand Association of Optometrists have come together to create “an informative resource for patients receiving eye-health care”.
The patient card was developed by Choosing Wisely, an initiative which aims to reduce the use of unnecessary or unevidenced medical tests and procedures.

Choosing Wisely recognises that not all tests or procedures are helpful for all patients and therefore encourages constructive conversations between patients and health professionals in making decisions. The aim of the Choosing Wisely Patient Card is to help patients feel more comfortable and informed when having conversations with their eye-health care professional about their own eye care.
The patient card encourages patients to start an informed conversation by asking four “important” questions before undergoing eye-health tests:
• Why am I having this test?
• What information will it provide?
• What are the risks of the test?
• What happens if I don’t have the test?
“It is important that patients feel comfortable to ask informed questions about eye-health tests so that they have a better understanding of what they may or may not find out from a particular test. It is easier for a patient to take an informed and active part in their own eye care when they have a good understanding of all their options. This information will help to spark important conversations between patients and eye-care professionals,” Dr Sherwood said.
“The New Zealand Association of Optometrists fully supports Choosing Wisely,” Dr Lesley Frederikson, PhD, national director of NZAO, said.

“With the advent of many advanced methods to test for various eye health issues, it is important for any eye-care practitioner to communicate effectively what tests are appropriate and how frequently they need to be performed.
“By asking these four questions, the patient starts a conversation that will mean they are better informed, more confident in the care provided and part of the conversation as to what is best for their visual well-being.”

The patient card will be distributed through optometry and ophthalmology practices throughout New Zealand.
Choosing Wisely has been implemented in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia and was launched in 2017 by the Council of Medical Colleges, of which RANZCO is a member.