"We know harm can come from overdiagnosis ... there is no doubt we need some sort of approach to address it."

- Professor Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer of Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, 2018

Our strategy

Initial Statement to underpin the development of a National Action Plan to Prevent Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Australia.

  1. Alongside the undisputed ability of healthcare to extend human life and ameliorate suffering, there is growing evidence and concern about the problem of too much medicine. Overdiagnosis and the related overuse of medical tests and treatments not only causes harm, but also divert resources from addressing underdiagnosis and undertreatment.
  2. There is need in Australia to identify the causes of too much medicine, the extent of the problem, and to develop responses to address it.
  3. There is an urgent need to better inform consumers, clinicians, decision-makers and the public about the evidence for, and the consequences of, overdiagnosis and related overtreatment, as part of a broader approach to inform people about the potential harms, as well as the benefits of medical tests and treatments.
  4. Expanding disease definitions and lowering diagnostic thresholds are recognised as one driver of the problem, and the processes for changing definitions require meaningful reform.
  5. We are committed to evaluation, to ensure that attempts to address too much medicine are both safe and fair for healthcare consumers and their families, and in turn help to optimise the Australian health system’s safety, efficiency and equity of access.


Other researchers:
Prof Alex Barratt (University of Sydney)
Prof Rachelle Buchbinder (Monash University)
Prof Stacy Carter (University of Wollongong)
Prof Adam Elshaug (University of Sydney)
Prof Kirsten Howard (University of Sydney)
Prof Ian Kerridge (University of Sydney)
Prof Chris Maher (University of Sydney)
Prof Kirsten McCaffery (University of Sydney)
Prof Chris Semsarian (University of Sydney)

Wiser Healthcare

National Action Plan

Our current grants

  1. NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence Grant: Wiser Healthcare: Better value for All Australians (2022-2026)
  2. NHMRC Program Grant: Using Healthcare Wisely: Reducing inappropriate use of tests and treatments; $9,578,895.00 (1/1/17-31/12/21)
  3. NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence Grant: Creating sustainable healthcare: ensuring new diagnostics avoid harms, improve outcomes, and direct resources wisely; $2,497,658.00 (1/5/16-30/4/21)
  4. NHMRC Fellowship: Dr Ray Moynihan: Preventing Overdiagnosis: A research programme to investigate and respond to the health impacts of expanding disease definitions and lowering diagnostic thresholds; $318,768.00 (1/3/17-28/2/22)