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Understanding Overuse, Underuse, and Misuse of Medical Care

Understanding Overuse, Underuse, and Misuse of Medical Care

If the healthcare industry didn't exist, our world would be an incredibly different—and much grimmer—place! Hospitals treat millions of people each year and save countless lives with quality care and treatment each year. But things aren't always rainbows and sunshine in healthcare, and medical professionals occasionally make mistakes like people in any other occupation. These mistakes are not all preventable, but many of them are. To improve healthcare in the US and worldwide, understanding overuse, underuse, and misuse of medical care and its impact on hospitals, medical professionals, and patients is essential.


Overuse of medical care is when patients are prescribed medicine or treatment without a logical reason. A common example of overuse is when antibiotics are prescribed to treat things that heal without antibiotics, such as ear infections and sinus infections.

Overuse is rarely physically harmful to the patient, but it can be costly for both the hospital and the treated person. More doesn't always translate to better. Prescribing unnecessary medicines and treatments is a waste of money, resources, and time.


Underuse of medical care is when medical professionals fail to provide patients with the appropriate medicine or treatments or neglect to follow general healthcare practices. Close to 100,000 patients die each year due to underuse.

Common examples of underuse include not prescribing beta-blockers to patients who have just experienced heart attacks or not placing stents in the hearts of people with coronary heart disease or related diagnoses.


Misuse is another name for malpractice. It's when a patient doesn't receive the full effect of a treatment or is harmed by a treatment due to preventable errors. Examples include prescribing medicine that contains ingredients a patient knows they are allergic to, making surgical errors or operating on the wrong surgery site, and prematurely discharging a patient from the hospital.

Understanding overuse, underuse, and misuse of medical care is a first crucial step. Preventing it is the next.

Providing medical professionals with necessary state-of-the-art equipment is one-way hospitals can help cut down on instances of overuse, underuse, and misuse. Med One Group is a hospital equipment supplier dedicated to providing hospitals with the tools and supplies they need to deliver high-quality care. We can service hospitals nationwide, so contact us today to find out how we can help your facility.