How often are patients given inappropriate care? According researchers in the January 23 Archives of Internal Medicine, the overuse of medical services—that is, the provision of healthcare services for which the harm outweighs the benefit to the patient or provides no added advantage—may be a bigger problem than is realized. However, there are few studies that describe the overuse of care, they said.
Deborah Korenstein, MD, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, and colleagues conducted a literature review and found 172 articles encompassing 241 studies of on the overuse of medical services. The types of services examined in the studies included the following:
- Therapeutic procedures (eg, coronary artery bypass grafting, coronary angiography, carotid endarterectomy)
- Diagnostic tests (eg, upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, plain film radiography, prostate-specific antigen testing)
- Administration of medications and other therapeutics (eg, antibiotics, bronchodilators, acid blockers)