Media Releases

ARTIC Program Announces Newest Project: Choosing Wisely – An Idea Worth Spreading

Toronto, April 7, 2016 – The Adopting Research to Improve Care (ARTIC) Program, co-led by Health Quality Ontario and the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario and funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, proudly announces the newest ARTIC project, Choosing Wisely: An Idea Worth Spreading. ARTIC is a proven model that accelerates the implementation and spread of research evidence into broader practice. This latest project will reduce unnecessary medical care by implementing hospital-relevant Choosing Wisely recommendations across the Joint Centres for Transformative Health Care Innovation, and targeted primary care recommendations across the associated family and community medicine clinics.

Excessive tests, treatments and procedures can potentially harm patients, increase costs and lengthen patient wait times for care.  Studies show that up to 30% of medical care is unnecessary. The Choosing Wisely ARTIC project will enable teams across the hospital and primary care sectors to learn from each other and undertake collective and coordinated action.

“Generating health research evidence is the important first step to improving care for Ontarians. The next step—and often the more challenging step—is moving that evidence into practice,” says Karen Michell, Executive Director of the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario. “ARTIC has the right infrastructure and implementation tools to enable the project team to spread Choosing Wisely Canada’s recommendations across multiple sites.”

Choosing Wisely: An Idea Worth Spreading was selected following the annual ARTIC call for proposals to identify projects that would spread an effective clinical intervention or practice change that had already been proven and successfully implemented. The next ARTIC call for proposals will be issued in spring 2016 and the broad theme continues to be the integration of care.

“ARTIC has been very successful in advancing the quality of patient care across Ontario’s health system,” says Dr. Joshua Tepper, President and CEO of Health Quality Ontario. “With the Choosing Wisely spread project, ARTIC is supporting the spread of knowledge and fostering partnerships that will help bring about meaningful improvement.”

Joint Centres partner, North York General Hospital, was an early adopter of Choosing Wisely Canada’s campaign and recommendations, and along with Toronto East Health Network, another partner, has already achieved positive results. North York General has reduced lab testing by more than 33% in its pre-operative clinic and emergency department, and Toronto East Health Network has reduced urine culture testing in its emergency department by 17%. Both hospitals are continuing to implement Choosing Wisely broadly across all of their clinical programs.

With ARTIC support, the Choosing Wisely spread project will enable the hospitals to share their innovations in reducing unnecessary medical care with three other Joint Centres members: Markham Stouffville Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre Toronto and Southlake Regional Health Centre. It will also extend the spread of Choosing Wisely measures already implemented at North York’s associated family and community medicine teams to primary care teams associated with the other member hospitals.

“Our culture of continuous quality improvement at North York General made the decision to adopt Choosing Wisely Canada’s campaign an easy one,” says Dr. Tim Rutledge, President and CEO of North York General Hospital. “With support from ARTIC for the Choosing Wisely spread project, we will now be able to share our innovations with several of our partner hospitals as well as primary care practitioners, so that our successes can be replicated and grow even further.”

Another component of the project will be the development of toolkits for implementing Choosing Wisely Canada recommendations in emergency departments and pre-operative clinics as well as for broader spread and sustainability. The toolkits will be developed in collaboration with Choosing Wisely Canada, helping to ensure that the ARTIC investment supports optimization of care not only in the communities served by the Joint Centres but also across Ontario, and nationally.

“Choosing Wisely Canada is very supportive of this project,” says Dr. Wendy Levinson, Chair of Choosing Wisely Canada.  “The work at North York General Hospital has been the most advanced implementation of Choosing Wisely undertaken at any site in Canada, and even in North America. We need partners like North York General Hospital, the Joint Centres and ARTIC to help spread and implement change that will reduce superfluous tests, treatments and procedures that do not benefit patients.”

The Adopting Research to Improve Care (ARTIC) Program is co-led by Health Quality Ontario and the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO) to accelerate the implementation and spread of proven research evidence into broader practice. Originally designed for the research hospital sector, the ARTIC Program has expanded to become a provincial resource for the full health system, supporting the province’s quality agenda in health care. Visit the ARTIC page for more information.

About HQO
Health Quality Ontario (HQO) is the provincial advisor on the quality of health care in Ontario, evaluating the effectiveness of health care technologies and services, providing evidence-based recommendations, reporting to the public on the quality of the health system, and supporting the spread of quality improvement throughout the system. Visit for more information.

About CAHO
The Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO) represents Ontario’s 24 research hospitals that play a unique and vital role in the province’s health care system. Collectively, we provide advanced patient care services, train the next generation of health care professionals, and conduct leading-edge research to discover tomorrow’s care today. As connectors in the system, we create capacity and generate a healthier, wealthier, smarter Ontario. For more information, visit


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For more information about the ARTIC program contact:

Anita Cianciolo
Senior Communications Advisor
Health Quality Ontario
t. 416-323-6868 ext. 693

Elise Bradt
Communications Specialist
Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario
t. 416-205-1469   @CAHOhospitals