Overtreatment study wins $9.5 million


Researchers have been awarded a $9.5 million grant from the NHMRC to help reduce unnecessary testing and treatment and increase the wise and appropriate use of healthcare in the areas of musculoskeletal diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The four researchers who will lead the study ‘Using healthcare wisely: Reducing inappropriate use of tests and treatments’, are Professor Chris Maher from the George Institute for Global Health, Professor Paul Glasziou from Bond University, Professor Rachelle Buchbinder from Monash University and Cabrini Institute, and Professor Kirsten McCaffery from the University of Sydney.

Chief Investigator Professor Chris Maher of the George Institute for Global Health said he was looking forward to working with the other investigators and stakeholders to improve the health of Australians.

“My interest is in improving healthcare for common musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain. Back pain affects millions of Australians and it is the leading health reason forcing older Australians to retire prematurely,” Professor Maher said in a press release from The George Institute.

“In Australia we spend an extraordinary amount on healthcare for low back pain, $5 billion each year, so it is important that we use this money wisely,” he said.

Rheumatologist Professor Rachelle Buchbinder of Monash University and Cabrini Institute said a systematic approach to investigating the problem of over-testing, over-diagnosis, and over-treatment was needed.

“We know that one-off strategies aimed at changing clinician behaviour are ineffective and an all-of-systems approach involving clinicians, policy makers and consumers is needed to identify and test sustainable, multifaceted solutions,” she said.

“A strength of our planned program of research is that it will cross professional boundaries and mean that we can learn from successes in other disciplines,” she added.

 

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