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עמוד בית
Wed, 24.04.24


IMAJ | volume 24

Journal 6, June 2022
pages: 399-402

Too Much Healthcare: The Harmful Combination of Overdiagnosis and Medical Overuse, Told and Untold Stories

1Department of Family Medicine, Dan and Tel Aviv Districts, Clalit Health Services, Ramat Gan, Israel 2Department of Family Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel


Too much healthcare is prevalent, wasteful, and harmful. It consists of two separate phenomena: overdiagnosis and overuse. Overdiagnosis is the labeling of a person with a disease or abnormal condition that would not have caused the person harm if left undiscovered. Individuals derive no clinical benefit from overdiagnosis, although they may experience physical, psychological, or financial harm. It has been found that 15–30%, 20–50%, 0–67%, and 50–90% of people with screen detected breast, prostate, lung, and thyroid cancer, respectively, are overdiagnosed. Since many screening tests have trade-off between benefit and harm, a shared decision-making approach is essential. Incidental findings are very common and may also cause overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis is recognizable in populations and not at the individual level. However, overuse is recognizable at the level of the individual practitioner. Choosing Wisely, an intervention directed at reducing low value care, now faces the challenge of developing interventions that go beyond recommendations. While some of the drivers of overdiagnosis and overuse are similar, different and parallel strategies are needed in order to reduce them. This is one of the major challenges to our health care system.

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