Evidence for overuse of medical services around the world

by Shannon Brownlee, Kalipso Chalkidou, Jenny Doust et al.
The Lancet – Published Online January 8, 2017

13 pp. 374 kB

Overuse, which is defined as the provision of medical services that are more likely to cause harm than good, is a pervasive problem. Direct measurement of overuse through documentation of delivery of inappropriate services is challenging given the difficulty of defining appropriate care for patients with individual preferences and needs. Despite the challenges, the high prevalence of overuse is well documented in high-income countries across a wide range of services and is increasingly recognised in low-income countries. Although harms from overuse have not been well quantified and trends have not been well described, overuse is likely to be increasing worldwide.

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