Trends in the Overuse of Ambulatory Health Care Services in the United States

JAMA Internal Medicine: January 28, 2013

Background  Given the rising costs of health care, policymakers are increasingly interested in identifying the inefficiencies in our health care system. The objective of this study was to determine whether the overuse and misuse of health care services in the ambulatory setting has decreased in the past decade.

Methods  Cross-sectional analysis of the 1999 and 2009 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the outpatient department component of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which are nationally representative annual surveys of visits to non–federally funded ambulatory care practices. We applied 22 quality indicators using a combination of current quality measures and guideline recommendations. The main outcome measures were the rates of underuse, overuse, and misuse and their 95% CIs. Read more