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Overuse, the provision of health care services for which harms outweigh benefits, represents poor quality and contributes to high costs. Reducing overuse could reduce health care spending without adversely impacting the health of the public. Korenstein et al searched the literature to describe the overuse of procedures, diagnostic tests, and medications in the United States, identifying 172 articles. The most commonly studied services were antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections, coronary angiography, carotid endarterectomy, and coronary artery bypass grafting, with limited information on other services. The authors found limited evidence describing the overuse of most services in the United States. Given the importance placed on delivering high-quality efficient care, there seems to be a disconnect between this often stated goal and the amount of research investment in this area. There is an underuse of overuse research.
In This Issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(2):96. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.1014
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