Less Is More (Healthy): Overuse of Healthcare Services

Royi Barnea, Ruti Berger, Yossi Weiss, Joshua Shemer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Overuse of healthcare services is a common phenomenon defined as: "a healthcare service that is provided under circumstances in which its potential for harm exceeds the possible benefit." It is expressed in the gap between desired services and available ones and is accompanied by high financial and human life costs. One-fifth to one-third of patients receives unnecessary, ineffective, or potentially harmful treatments or services. One of the greatest challenges to understanding overuse is the lack of definition for appropriate use. Apart from the physical and mental damage caused by overuse or improper use of medical services, this phenomenon has many implications, such as increasing waiting times for services, creating long queues, and incurring considerable financial costs as over 10% of hospital expenses are used to correct medical errors or preventable infections. Government intervention through economic arrangements such as deductibles and pre-authorization of services by the insurer are partially effective in reducing the overuse of health services. Additional solutions include ensuring safety and quality of care as well as shared decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-409
Number of pages7
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume24
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • health policy
  • health services
  • quality in healthcare

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