Push to reduce low-value care often neglects patient experience, study finds

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Most efforts to decrease low-value care have focused on reducing the overall use of certain tests and treatments, neglecting to measure those reductions' actual impact on patients, according to a report published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

To create the report, researchers reviewed 101 past and 16 ongoing efforts to reduce low-value care and how those efforts' effects were measured. The researchers found 68 percent of efforts measured the changing use of a particular test or treatment. Only 41 percent measured an outcome, around half analyzed whether a test or treatment was appropriate for patients and only a third looked for unintended consequences. 

The 16 ongoing studies focused more on patients than older studies. They were more likely to measure specific outcomes, look for unintended consequences, meet standard research methodology and involve patients directly in reducing low-value care.

The report's authors recommend including more patient-centered measures in studies measuring low-value care interventions and more standardization in how providers evaluate efforts to reduce low-value care.

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