May 14, 2021

Overuse of Medical Tests and Treatments at US Hospitals

Published in JAMA Open, April 2021

By Kelsey Chalmers, Paula Smith, Judith Garber, Valerie Gopinath, Shannon Brownlee, Aaron L. Schwartz, MD, Adam G. Elshaug, Vikas Saini

The Lown team published original research on hospital overuse in April 2021. See our key takeaways and read the full article below.

Read the full article at JAMA Open!


Key Takeaways

  • For this paper, the Lown Institute team applied overuse criteria for 13 low-value services to 3351 US hospitals, using Medicare claims data from 2015-2017.
  • They found that hospitals in the South and for-profit hospitals had worse overuse scores than hospitals in other regions and nonprofit hospitals, on average. Major teaching hospitals had better scores than minor or non-teaching hospitals.
  • The highest-volume services were head imaging for fainting (nearly 30% of LVS) and coronary artery stenting for stable heart disease (16% of LVS). Nearly 200,000 low-value stents were done at US hospitals over the three years.
  • Certain procedures had high rates of overuse: 64% of hysterectomies, 52% of carotid endarterectomies, and 25% of coronary stents that hospitals performed met the criteria for overuse nationwide.