Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice

Screening, case finding and prevention principles

Screening and overdiagnosis

      1. Screening and overdiagnosis

Screening and overdiagnosis

All clinicians need to be mindful of overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis happens when a patient’s diagnosis causes them more harm than good. This can happen when a healthy person undertakes a screening test and is diagnosed with a very early form of a disease, but that disease would never have developed further to cause your patient any symptoms.1,2
Harms of overdiagnosis include:

  • physical and financial harm from unnecessary treatment
  • stress and anxiety for patients, their families and carers
  • potential for cascading of follow-up tests and/or treatments
  • harms to other patients from an overburdened health system.1
This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

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Related documents

  Lifecycle-chart.pdf (PDF 0.12 MB)