Discrepancies Among Hospitals and Regions in the Provision of Low-Value Care

Document Type : Original Article


1 Institute of Hospital and Health Care Administration, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Community Medicine Research Center, Institute of Hospital and Health Care Administration, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Department of Health Services Administration, College of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan


Low-value care (LVC) is a critical issue in terms of patient safety and fiscal policy; however, little has been known in Asia. For the purpose of better understanding the extent of LVC on a national level, the utilization, costs, and associated characteristics of selected international recommendations were assessed in this study.
This retrospective cohort study used the National Health Insurance (NHI) claims data during 2013-2017 to evaluate the LVC utilization. Adult beneficiaries who enrolled in the NHI program and received at least one of the low-value services in hospitals were included. We measured seven procedures derived from the international recommendations at the hospital level, and a composite measure was created by summing the total utilization of selected services to determine the overall prevalence and corresponding cost. The generalized estimating equation (GEE) model was adopted to estimate the association.
A total of 1 970 496 episodes of LVC was identified among 1 218 146 beneficiary-year observations and 2054 hospital-year observations. Overall, the utilization rate of the composite measure increased from 150.70 to 186.23 episodes per 10 000 beneficiaries with the growth in cost from US$ 5.40 to US$ 6.90 million. LVC utilization was proportional to the volume of outpatient visits and length of stay. Also, hospitals with a large volume of outpatient visits (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 95% CI, 2.10: 1.26 to 3.49 for Q2-Q3, 2.88: 1.45 to 5.75 for ≥Q3) and a higher proportion of older patients (aOR: 95% CI, 1.06: 1.02 to 1.11) were more likely to have high costs.
The utilization and corresponding cost of LVC appeared to increase annually despite the relatively lower prevalence compared to other countries. Multicomponent interventions such as recommendations, de-implementation policies and payment reforms are considered effective ways to reduce LVC. Repeated measurements would be needed to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.


Articles in Press, Corrected Proof
Available Online from 17 March 2024
  • Receive Date: 10 December 2022
  • Revise Date: 07 February 2024
  • Accept Date: 16 March 2024
  • First Publish Date: 17 March 2024