Over- and Undertreatment

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About Over- and Undertreatment

An Iranian initiative 

Overtreatment was one of the major concerns which emerged from a mixed method study on ethical issues of dental practice in Iran and Switzerland performed by Ali Kazemian from Iran. Since then, studying overtreatment in healthcare has become one of his main research interests. One of his recent observations is that the coexistence of over- and undertreatment and diagnosis constitutes a significant problem in the health sector i.e., the double burden of suboptimal care. 

Over- and underdiagnosis of cancers has been addressed separately in literature. The concern we like to highlight is the co-existence of these two issues at population and individual levels. 

This double burden: 

  • at population level means there may be an unequitable distribution of diagnostic tests which can result in oversupply, and possibly overdiagnosis, for some groups and underdiagnosis for others 
  • at individual level means exaggerating the concerns for some cancer risks whilst overlooking other more hazardous cancer risk factors and this can be translated to health-literacy topics. 

This idea is currently being scoped and will become an Inspire2Live project. 

Involved Patient Advocates