Preventing overdiagnosis – winding back the harms of too much medicine
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The “modern epidemic” of overdiagnosis is increasingly recognised as a significant source of harm and waste within healthcare systems. Overdiagnosis happens when people are given a diagnostic label for a disease or condition that will not harm them. It can lead to unnecessary tests and treatments and take health resources away from people who could benefit most. There are reliable estimates that in the United States alone, perhaps a third of all spending may be wasted, including US$200 billion a year spent on overtreatment. While healthcare systems based more on solidarity will be unlikely to have that magnitude of waste, there is a growing sense that too much medicine is a global phenomenon.
This document has been peer reviewed.