The American College of Physicians is pushing for greater use of performance measures targeting overuse and misuse of healthcare services.
In a 19-page position paper released Monday, the group argues that measures that gauge the use of "low-value services," such as imaging for low back pain or nonindicated cancer screenings, can raise awareness about healthcare misuse and change clinician behavior.
"Just as we need performance measures to assess underuse of high-value services, we need valid, evidence-based measures of overuse," according to the paper.
The authors outlined a number of approaches for measuring clinicians' utilization of "low-value services," including the use of metrics that evaluate the appropriateness of a particular treatment given the circumstances of individual patients.
"For example, a direct measure of imaging for patients with acute low back pain would determine whether an imaging test was performed that is typically of low value and whether there were unusual circumstances present that justified the imaging test," the authors said.