Overuse of health care: it’s time to take action

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4 conference de normand enOur executive director, Normand Laberge, gave a well-received presentation at the plenary session opening the 5th international Preventing Overdiagnosis conference. He reminded us that 10% to 30% of tests, treatments or procedures done in the country may not be necessary and risk jeopardizing public finances.

“We have to aim for quality rather than quantity,” he explained to the conference participants, and tackle false beliefs, especially “more is better”. We now know that financial incentives tied to billing or compensation are ineffective. Lastly, in health care, we need to stop talking only about the beneficial effects of tests and treatments and include their risks as well. Mr. Laberge feels that if we want to prevent overdiagnosis, we have to take three aspects into account:

• Communicate: With clinicians and patients, but also policy-makers;

• Educate: By providing continuing education to healthcare providers, and by distributing pamphlets via the Internet and media; and

• Engage: By identifying new champions and developing helpful and shareable tools.