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Study: Low-value procedures can harm patients, create burden on health system

February 26, 2019 / Matt Kuhrt

Low-value procedures have been in the crosshairs for years for the resources they waste. New research further supports the idea that they may also cause more harm than good for the patients they’re supposed to help. That's because low-value procedures raise the risks patients may experience problems such as unnecessary discomfort or dangerous hospital-acquired complications, according to study results published in JAMA Internal Medicine. A group of Australian researchers looked at admissions data from 225 public hospitals in New South Wales from 2014 through 2017. To calculate value, they looked at cost as well as whether an unnecessary procedure simply fails to add to a patient’s quality of care or actually detracts from care quality and whether it makes a significant difference in terms of the overall value of the procedure from a broader perspective.