Table 2

Interpretation of ‘overdiagnosis’ among participants who had not previously encountered the term (n=273): emerging (sub-)themes

CategoryExemplar quote (spelling errors corrected)n (%)
Response not categorised or no knowledge
 No knowledge“Don't know.”103 (37.7)
 Incoherent, irrelevant or too vague to categorise“Going over the top.”44 (16.1)
Diagnosis-related responses
 Overly negative or complicated diagnosis“Diagnosing a disease to a worse state than actual.”30 (11.0)
 False-positive diagnosis“It sounds like being told you have things you don’t have.”13 (4.8)
 Misdiagnosis“The wrong diagnosis of an illness.”12 (4.4)
 Overly detailed diagnosis“Too much information on a probable problem.”9 (3.3)
 Too many diagnoses“Too many different diagnosis from various medical professionals.”6 (2.2)
 Overdiagnosis“Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health.”1 (0.4)
Test-related responses
 Too many tests“Too many health checks.”6 (2.2)
Treatment-related responses
 Overtreatment“Treating an illness in a stronger way than necessary.”6 (2.2)
 Inappropriate treatment“Wrong treatment or pills.”2 (0.7)
 Unbeneficial treatment“Giving medical assistance when there is no hope.”1 (0.4)
Responses related to patients’ psychology
 Overthinking“Complicating a problem by thinking too much about it.”15 (5.5)
 Overly health-sensitive“Worrying too much about health issues, continually seeking explanations.”10 (3.7)
 Anticipating a worse diagnosis“Looking at worst case scenario before having all the facts.”8 (2.9)
Other responses
 Multiple (medical) opinions“Too many people involved in a medical decision.”5 (1.8)
 Defensive medicine“Treatment, just to be on the safe side.”2 (0.7)