Reducing Waste and
Low-value Care

The cost of healthcare worldwide is rising unsustainably. Contributing to this trend are growing levels of wasteful and low-value healthcare along with outdated care delivery models that are unable to meet current needs and adapt to new realities. Research Theme 2 examines ways to reduce wasteful or low-value care, which accounts for 30% of all healthcare, and to deliver needed care more efficiently.

Research Stream 2.1: Impact of Different Sources of Healthcare Waste

Health systems face the challenge of “too much healthcare”, with waste, low-value care, and harm a problem in Australia and around the world. This Research Stream focuses on prioritised and quantified sources of wastage and low-value care as well as the identification and implementation of interventions to address these areas of waste. Specifically, it aims to uncover the main contributors to the growth in “volume of care per case” and to understand which of these contributors constitute the highest priority areas of waste. Further, the Research Stream explores potential solutions to reduce waste in the Australian context and opportunities for disinvestment where interventions do not deliver improved outcomes.

Research Stream 2.2: Lower Cost Delivery of Effective and Appropriate Services

To counter rising levels of unsustainability in healthcare, alternative service models that are cost effective and maintain the quality of care are needed. This Research Stream is concerned with the identification and testing of alternative care delivery models to achieve lower cost delivery services. It explores what processes and healthcare sites have been found to be lower cost, what current evidence reveals about the models they employ, and what gaps in evidence remain for such alternative models. The Research Stream also examines the current levels of usage of these best-practice models and the potential for system gain from their wider adoption.

Research Theme 2: Reducing Waste and Low-value Care


Identifying alternative models of healthcare service delivery to inform health system improvement: scoping review of systematic reviews

Jessup R, Putrik P, Buchbinder R, Nezon J, Rischin K, Cyril S, Shepperd S, O’Connor DA. 2020. BMJ Open.


Is the risk of cancer in Australia overstated? The importance of competing mortality for estimating lifetime risk

Bach AC, Lo KSE, Pathirana T, Glasziou P, Barratt AL, Jones MA, Bell KJL. 2020. Medical Journal of Australia


Musculoskeletal healthcare: Have we over‐egged the pudding?

Annals of Internal Medicine. 170(4):259-61. Bell KJL, Doust J, Glasziou P, Maher CG, O’Keeffe M, Buchbinder R, Harris IA. 2019. International Journal Rheumatic Diseases.


Recognizing the Potential for Overdiagnosis: Are High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin Assays an Example?

Bell KJL, Doust J, Glasziou P, Cullen L, Harris IA, Smith L, Buchbinder R, Barratt A. 2019. Annals of Internal Medicine.

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