NPR / Kaiser Health News, May 13, 2014

Medical overtreatment is the inverse of former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's definition of pornography: While waste is easy to define in principle, it can be hard to know it when you see it. A treatment that is appropriate for one patient can also be unnecessary or even counterproductive for another, depending on the patient's condition. This has been a major obstacle for studies seeking to pinpoint overused services, which by the most expansive estimates may account for as much as a third of the nation's health spending. Using a novel method, a study released Monday by researchers from the Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy evaluated the prevalence in Medicare of 26 tests and procedures that have been found to offer little or no clinical benefit
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