NTHSSA Celebrates First Anniversary of Choosing Wisely NWT

The campaign aims to encourage clinicians and patients to engage in conversations about potentially unnecessary— and sometimes harmful—tests and treatments.

Yellowknife, (February 15, 2019) – Today, the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) celebrates the first anniversary of implementing Choosing Wisely Northwest Territories (CWNT). CWNT is a campaign to help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments that lead to smart and effective choices in support of quality care. The campaign calls on health care providers and patients in NWT to question a broad range of tests and treatments that are commonly ordered but not always necessary, especially:

  • Antibiotics for viral illness
  • Low back imaging for uncomplicated back pain
  • Unnecessary lab testing

Since the campaign launch, CWNT organized pop-up patient education initiatives at the Yellowknife Spring Trade Fair in May 2018 and at health centres across the NWT during World Antibiotic Awareness Week in November 2018. CWNT is also engaging with the public through social media ads and Patient/Citizen advocacy opportunities. Staff participation and education in the past year included presentations for all NWT practitioner staff (Grand Rounds) and the development of new clinical resources.

On Friday February 8th, CWNT will be hosting another pop-up information booth at the YK Centre from 10am-4pm along with cake and coffee to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of CWNT. Regional health centres across the NWT will also be sharing a similar pop up display for local public education.

Choosing Wisely Canada is a national campaign to help health care providers and clients engage in meaningful conversations about potentially unnecessary tests, treatments, and procedures, and encourage informed decision making to ensure high-quality care. Choosing Wisely Canada is organized by a team of leading Canadian physicians, in partnership with the Northwest Territories.

Choosing Wisely Northwest Territories is a campaign fully affiliated with Choosing Wisely Canada, and supported by the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority.



“While some of the success of Choosing Wisely is measured in the reduction of inappropriate testing, care and services, the real success of this initiative is that Choosing Wisely helps practitioners and patients to have important conversations about what the best care looks like for each individual, with
the ultimate goal of ensuring the best health for all NWT residents and improving the relationship between a patient and their care provider.” said Dr. Nadia Salvaterra, Territorial Medical Director.


Quick Facts:

In March 2018, CWNT implemented a new requisition which required an appropriate red flag to prompt lumbar or thoracic X-ray/CT. Within 6 months of implementation of the new requisition and other clinical resources for low back pain management, inappropriate imaging requests were reduced by 46.7% and improperly explained requests reduced by 50%. Overall, there is reduction in unnecessary imaging requests which, in turn, reduces patient exposure to potential harm.

Additionally, since the implementation of a new lab directive in June 2018, inappropriate redundant testing for inflammation was reduced by approximately 80%.


Related Links:
To learn more about Choosing Wisely Northwest Territories, visit https://www.nthssa.ca/en/choosingwisely.


Media Contact:

David Maguire
Manager, Communications
Corporate and Support Services
Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority
Government of the Northwest Territories
P.O. Box 1320, Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9
Phone: 867-767-9107, ext. 40150