Highlighting a Common Quality of Care Delivery Problem: Overuse of Low-value Healthcare Services

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Low-value healthcare services (LVHS) are defined as procedures delivered that provide little or no clinical benefit. Overuse of LVHS, or delivery when the risks exceed the benefits, contributes to excessive spending without improved outcomes. Furthermore, overuse contributes to healthcare waste.


The primary purpose of this commentary is to (1) examine the problem of LVHS overuse and its impacts on quality care delivery and (2) propose factors to consider in developing quality measures to help reduce overuse and waste and thus improve patient outcomes.


To inform and support this commentary, we conducted a limited review of the literature related to LVHS overuse, its consequences, and suggested solutions. Online search engines were used to identify research related to our primary areas of interest.


This commentary demonstrates that overuse and associated healthcare waste is growing among selected LVHS. The factors of overuse are multidimensional and poorly understood. Meanwhile, overuse of LVHS has financial consequences and impacts quality of care and outcomes.


Overuse of LVHS is common in the United States, leading to waste and suboptimal patient outcomes. Thus a need exists to address overuse and develop measures to capture a larger scope of services.

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