Is it really always only the others who are to blame? GP’s view on medical overuse. A questionnaire study

Autoři: Maximilian Pausch aff001;  Angela Schedlbauer aff002;  Maren Weiss aff003;  Thomas Kuehlein aff002;  Susann Hueber aff002
Působiště autorů: Faculty of Medicine, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Erlangen, Germany aff001;  Institute of General Practice, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany aff002;  Institute of Psychology, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Erlangen, Germany aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227457



Medical overuse is a common problem in health care. Preventing unnecessary medicine is one of the main tasks of General Practice, so called quaternary prevention. We aimed to capture the current opinion of German General Practitioners (GPs) to medical overuse.


A quantitative online study was conducted. The questionnaire was developed based on a qualitative study and literature search. GPs were asked to estimate prevalence of medical overuse as well as to evaluate drivers and solutions of medical overuse. GPs in Bavaria were recruited via email (750 addresses). A descriptive data analysis was performed. Additionally the association between doctors’ attitudes and (1) demographic variables and (2) interest in campaigns against medical overuse was assessed.


Response rate was 18%. The mean age was 54 years, 79% were male and 68% have worked as GP longer than 15 years. Around 38% of medical services were considered as medical overuse and nearly half of the GPs (47%) judged medical overuse to be the more important problem than medical underuse. Main drivers were seen in “patients´ expectations” (76%), “lack of a primary care system” (61%) and “defensive medicine” (53%), whereas “disregard of evidence/guidelines” (15%) and “economic pressure on the side of the doctor” (13%) were not weighted as important causes. Demographic variables did not have an important impact on GPs´ response pattern. GPs interested in campaigns like “Choosing Wisely” showed a higher awareness for medical overuse, although these campaigns were only known by 50% of the respondents.


Medical overuse is an important issue for GPs. Main drivers were searched and found outside their own sphere of responsibility. Campaigns as “Choosing Wisely” seem to have a positive effect on GPs attitude, but knowledge is still limited.

Klíčová slova:

Decision making – Health economics – Medical doctors – Physicians – Preventive medicine – Primary care – Qualitative studies – Questionnaires


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2020 Číslo 1