What Is The Status Of Research On Low-Value Care?

Millions of Americans are receiving medical treatments, tests, and procedures that are either wasteful or ineffective every single year. These services, dubbed as “low-value health care,” are defined as services for which the potential for harm outweighs the potential for benefit, and they have critical consequences for patients and the health system at large, as they are estimated to cost $300 billion nationally each year. While low-value care (LVC) has many dimensions, such as overuse, underuse, inappropriate use, and unnecessary care, the underlying challenges of undue risk to patients and wasteful spending are the same.

The Research Community on Low-Value Care—a joint initiative of AcademyHealth, the ABIM Foundation, and the Donaghue Foundation—provides a home for those working to address this challenge. With approximately 400 members representing diverse perspectives of research producers and users, the community facilitates peer-to-peer learning; spurs dialogue on shared challenges for strengthening research, practice, and policy; and helps foster new proposals for extramurally funded research.

Our Project
Five years after launching this research community, the community’s coordinators conducted a multifaceted assessment to reflect on the state of LVC research. This assessment included an analysis of LVC research using the Health Services Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj) database, a series of key informant interviews, and an invitational summit in October 2019 with more than 80 stakeholders focused on identifying research priorities for the future. Herein, we review the results of this HSRProj analysis.

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