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Dartmouth study: Overuse seems under-targeted

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A Dartmouth study of healthcare utilization found “that more than 90 percent of 521 outpatient measures targeted underuse. A mere 7 percent of measures targeted overuse ─ that is, measured how often excessive care was being provided. In addition, nearly half of collections contained no overuse measures at all.”

Brenda Sirovich, M.D., of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and some colleagues looked at clinical-performance measures in the hopes of determining their potential large-scale impact on clinical care.

“It’s seemed to a lot of folks that these measures predominantly target underuse of care,”  Dr. Sirovich said.  “If it’s true that incentives tend to consistently reward providers for doing more, there’s a good chance it contributes ─ unintentionally ─ to the problem of overuse of healthcare services.”

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