Health Services Research & Development

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Maratt JK, Kerr EA, Klamerus ML, Lohman SE, Froehlich W, Bhatia RS, Saini SD. Measures Used to Assess the Impact of Interventions to Reduce Low-Value Care: a Systematic Review. Journal of general internal medicine. 2019 Sep 1; 34(9):1857-1864.
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Abstract: IMPORTANCE: Studies of interventions to reduce low-value care are increasingly common. However, little is known about how the effects of such interventions are measured. OBJECTIVE: To characterize measures used to assess interventions to reduce low-value care. EVIDENCE REVIEW: We searched PubMed and Web of Science to identify studies published between 2010 and 2016 that examined the effects of interventions to reduce low-value care. We also searched ClinicalTrials.gov to identify ongoing studies. We extracted data on characteristics of studies, interventions, and measures. We then developed a framework to classify measures into the following categories: utilization (e.g., number of tests ordered), outcome (e.g., mortality), appropriateness (e.g., overuse of antibiotics), patient-reported (e.g., satisfaction), provider-reported (e.g., satisfaction), patient-provider interaction (e.g., informed decision-making elements), value, and cost. We also determined whether each measure was designed to assess unintended consequences. FINDINGS: A total of 1805 studies were identified, of which 101 published and 16 ongoing studies were included. Of published studies (N?=?101), 68% included at least one measure of utilization, 41% of an outcome, 52% of appropriateness, 36% of cost, 8% patient-reported, and 3% provider-reported. Funded studies were more likely to use patient-reported measures (17% vs 0%). Of ongoing studies (registered trials) (N?=?16), 69% included at least one measure of utilization, 75% of an outcome, 50% of appropriateness, 19% of cost, 50% patient-reported, 13% provider-reported, and 6% patient-provider interaction. Of published studies, 34% included at least one measure of an unintended consequence as compared to 63% of ongoing studies. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Most published studies focused on reductions in utilization rather than on clinically meaningful measures (e.g., improvements in appropriateness, patient-reported outcomes) or unintended consequences. Investigators should systematically incorporate more clinically meaningful measures into their study designs, and sponsors should develop standardized guidance for the evaluation of interventions to reduce low-value care.