WONCA Europe adopts position paper on overdiagnosis


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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The World Organization of Family Doctors in the European Region (WONCA Europe) has warned that problems related to “too much medicine” are on the rise, and say action is needed to avert the further escalation of the problem. 

In a new position paper, Overdiagnosis and Action to Be Taken, WONCA Europe said, while modern medicine has brought impressive benefits, a side effect of its many successes is “an unfounded, cultural belief that more medicine is necessarily better".

It said that in order to avert the further escalation of overdiagnosis “there is a need to reassess and disseminate new evidence on timely and appropriate diagnostic processes along with the communication skills needed to inform patients and their families about the relevant significance of their diagnoses".

The organisation said preventing overdiagnosis must involve the allocation of medical resources as effectively as possible for the benefit of population health. It added that in order to fulfil their professional role as gatekeepers and coordinators for the use of healthcare services, physicians should be encouraged to recognise and minimise overdiagnosis. General practitioners also have a role in informing both healthcare authorities, peers and the public that a vision of no medical risks in life is unrealistic, it said.