Overdiagnosis and overtreatment

The team at Bond has become a leader nationally and internationally in understanding and addressing the problem of overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis happens when people receive medical diagnoses that may do them more harm than good. Along with our research trying to understand the nature of the problem, and what’s driving it, the team has initiated attempts to start taking action to address it and reduce the number of people being unnecessarily harmed. One of those initiatives has been to develop a national response, that involves organisations across the healthcare landscape. Overdiagnosis through definition change and over-detection has led to substantial increases in the apparent prevalence of many diseases. Together with subsequent overtreatment, this is likely the largest contributor to our rapidly rising health care costs.

Our achievements

A $9.6M NHMRC program grant (2017-2021) “Using healthcare wisely: reducing inappropriate use of tests and treatments” with the University of Sydney and Monash, forms the core of the WiserHealthCare research group as well as a Partnership Centre on Health Care Sustainability (2017-2022) working to understand and reduce the problem of overdiagnosis, overtreatment and low value care.

A national action plan to prevent overdiagnosis and overtreatment in Australia. An international working group to reform the composition of panels that define diseases and process of how they do this.

Top publications

  1. Degeling, C., Thomas, R., Rychetnik, L., 2019. Citizen’s juries can bring public voices on overdiagnosis into policy making. BMJ, 364:i351
  2. Moynihan, R., Barratt, A.L., Buchbinder, R., Carter, S.M., Dakin, T., Donovan, J., Elshaug, A.G., Glasziou, P.P., Maher, C.G., McCaffery, K.J. and Scott, I.A., 2018. Australia is responding to the complex challenge of overdiagnosis. Medical Journal of Australia, 209(8), 332-334.
  3. Pathirana, T., Clark, J., Moynihan, R. 2017. Mapping the drivers of overdiagnosis to potential solutions. BMJ, 358:j3879
  4. Moynihan, R., Brodersen, J., Heath, I., J.... Glasziou, P., 2019. Reforming disease definitions: a new primary care led, people-centred approach. BMJ evidence-based medicine, pp.bmjebm-2018.
  5. Doust, J., Vandvik, P.O., Qaseem, A., …, Glasziou, P. 2017. Guidance for Modifying the Definition of Diseases: A Checklist. JAMA Intern Med, 177(8); 1020-1025