Back to Basics: Overdiagnosis Is About Unwarranted Diagnosis
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAmerican Journal of Epidemiology. 2019, 188 (10), 1812-1817. 10.1093/aje/kwz148
Epidemiologic studies of overdiagnosis are challenged by unclear definitions and the absence of unified measures. This spurs great controversies. Etymologically, overdiagnosis means too much diagnosis and stems from the inability to distinguish what is important from what is not. Accordingly, in order to grasp, measure, and handle overdiagnosis, we should revive medicine’s original goal and reconnect diagnosis to what matters to professionals and patients: knowledge and suffering, respectively. This will make overdiagnosis easier to define and measure, and eventually less difficult to reduce.