$2.5M NHMRC Grant awarded aiming to provide better value care for all Australians

September 14, 2021

The Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare, in collaboration with 3 other Australian universities, have been awarded a $2.5M Centre for Research Excellence grant to address the global problem of medical overuse.

Our research, and the work of our international collaborators, has shown that unnecessary diagnoses and treatments (overdiagnosis and overtreatment) are a global problem, causing harm to individuals physically, psychologically and financially, and billions of dollars in waste. Health system costs are escalating in Australia and worldwide and are unsustainable, this is in large part due to overuse, which in some estimates, accounts for 30% of all healthcare costs. Most importantly, overuse leaves effective care under-utilised, and disadvantaged populations under-resourced.

This CRE proposes an Australian-led, solutions-based approach to address the global problem of medical overuse: unnecessary, ineffective and low value health care. Overuse causes harm and diverts resources from areas of need.

By bringing together an outstanding interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Sydney (lead investigator), Bond University’s Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare, Monash University and University of Wollongong, these researchers will systematically address the key drivers of overuse, by: (1) building overuse health literacy in patients, communities and health professionals; (2) responding to changes in screening and diagnostic technology; (3) addressing financial drivers of overuse; and (4) changing clinical practices and routines, to minimise harm and waste, achieving more sustainable healthcare for all.

The team will develop and test solutions which are grounded in stakeholder engagement, co-designed, and which connect micro, meso and macro levels of healthcare and society in a coordinated response for a more sustainable health system, leveraging their strong existing relationships with policymakers, professional bodies, health services and consumer organisations to ensure their knowledge translation is successful.

Pandemic conditions have only intensified health system pressures and the need to manage health resources wisely. This research will tackle a problem of national and international importance to minimise harm and waste in healthcare, providing the means for effective care to be maximised and delivered equitably, so that everyone has the opportunity to benefit.

“It’s critical that we control the overspend, the waste and the inadvertent iatrogenic harm that’s being caused by too much medicine, overdiagnosis and stretching of disease definitions. The 194 Ministries of Health whom the WHO works all face this problem.” Dr Gollogly, WHO, Dec 2019

For more information on the Wiser Healthcare Collaboration, please visit their website.