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Medical Overuse in the Iranian Healthcare System: A Systematic Scoping Review and Practical Recommendations for Decreasing Medical Overuse During Unexpected COVID-19 Pandemic Opportunity

Authors Pezeshki MZ, Janati A, Arab-Zozani M

Received 15 May 2020

Accepted for publication 15 July 2020

Published 11 August 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1103—1110


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto

Mohammad Zakaria Pezeshki,1 Ali Janati,2 Morteza Arab-Zozani3,4

1Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Tabriz Medical School, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran; 2Iranian Center of Excellence in Health Management, Department of Health Services Management, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran; 3Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran; 4Student Research Committee, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Correspondence: Morteza Arab-Zozani Tel +98 9153317843
Email [email protected]

Purpose: To perform an inclusive search for original studies that report medical overuse in the Iranian healthcare system and discovering the area of overuse.
Patients and Methods: A systematic search of the literature is conducted in bibliographic databases including PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Sciences, Cochrane and Scientific Information Database using a comprehensive search strategy without time limit until the end of 2018, updated by 1 July 2020, accomplished by reference tracking, author contacting and expert consultation to identify studies on the overuse of medical care.
Results: We reviewed 4124 published articles based on predetermined inclusion criteria. The author’s consensus included a total of 41 articles. Of these, 32 were in English and 9 in Farsi, published between 1975– 2019. The result categorized into two distinct clinical areas: treatment (18 articles) and diagnostic (23 articles) services. Almost all of the studies only described the magnitude of unnecessary overuse. Unnecessary overuse of antibiotics, MRI, and CT-scan were the most reported topics. The ranges of their overuse proportion were as follows: antibiotic (31 to 97%); MRI (33 to 88%), and CT-scan (19 to 50%).
Conclusion: Our review showed, even so, the magnitude of unnecessary overuse of medical services is high but there are only a few interventional studies in clinical and administrative level for finding effective methods for decreasing these unnecessary services. Researchers should be encouraged to conducting interventional studies. We suggest the ministry of health to use the golden opportunity of COVID-19 epidemic for designing Iran national policy and action plan for controlling and preventing unnecessary healthcare services and including a section for “Interventional Research” in the action plan.

Keywords: medical overuse, healthcare system, COVID-19, Iran

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