Australia is responding to the complex challenge of overdiagnosis

Ray Moynihan, Alexandra L Barratt, Rachelle Buchbinder, Stacy M Carter, Thomas Dakin, Jan Donovan, Adam G Elshaug, Paul P Glasziou, Christopher G Maher, Kirsten J McCaffery and Ian A Scott
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.01138
Published online: 15 October 2018

An Australian alliance of clinical, consumer, research and public organisations is emerging to tackle overdiagnosis

Overdiagnosis is now a health challenge recognised across many nations.1 Debates about its definition continue, but in short, overdiagnosis happens when health systems routinely diagnose people in ways that do not benefit them or that even do more harm than good.2 Overdiagnosis is unwarranted diagnosis, leading to harms from unnecessary labels and treatments and to the waste of health care resources that could be better spent dealing with genuine needs. To manage overdiagnosis and the sustainability of the health system more broadly, reversing the harm of too much medicine is becoming a health care priority, demanding effective responses in policy and practice. In Australia, a new alliance is developing a national plan to deal with this problem.

  • Ray Moynihan1
  • Alexandra L Barratt2
  • Rachelle Buchbinder3,4
  • Stacy M Carter5
  • Thomas Dakin2
  • Jan Donovan6
  • Adam G Elshaug7
  • Paul P Glasziou1
  • Christopher G Maher8
  • Kirsten J McCaffery2
  • Ian A Scott9,10

  • 1 Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD
  • 2 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 3 Cabrini Institute, Melbourne, VIC
  • 4 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 5 University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW
  • 6 Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Canberra, ACT
  • 7 Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 8 George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 9 Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, QLD
  • 10 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD


Competing interests:

All authors were involved in planning the 2017 National Summit on Overdiagnosis.


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