Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Reality Check

Science of overdiagnosis to be served up with a good dose of humility

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 20 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5157
  1. Ray Moynihan, author, journalist, and senior research fellow, Bond University, Australia
  1. RayMoynihan{at}

The Preventing Overdiagnosis international scientific conference gets under way next month

The Preventing Overdiagnosis conference ( is close to capacity and may have to close registrations even before it opens its doors in a couple of weeks. It’s pleasing that so many people will gather within the grounds of Dartmouth College’s picturesque campus in New England to share the science of this problem and its potential solutions.

The meeting is hosted by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, in partnership with the BMJ, the influential US consumer organisation Consumer Reports, and Bond University in Australia. It will feature more than 90 presentations, with participants from almost 20 nations. The twin aims are to share what we know about overdiagnosis and how we might best respond to it. And as we sit down to try to work out how to wind back the harms of too much medicine safely and fairly, if there’s an overarching theme, let it be humility . . . for there are no simple quick fixes and no panaceas.

As interest …

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