Testing times: new research project looks at expectations in healthcare testing

Australians have high expectations of tests in healthcare. But are they higher than warranted? And are they impacting on healthcare expenditure?

Importantly, what role do particular socio-cultural factors play in producing and sustaining expectations that may be higher than warranted by scientific evidence?

How do different healthcare contexts shape the meanings attributed to tests—their perceived applications, value and risks?

These are some of the questions underpinning a new ARC-funded project that will be the first sociological study in Australia of expectations in healthcare testing. It aims to understand the sociocultural processes underpinning optimism for the use of testing technologies in healthcare.

Focussing on the Australian national cancer screening programs and routine testing in clinical practice, the project will explore the mechanisms by which optimistic expectations of healthcare testing emerge and function among different stakeholder communities.

Insights from this study will ultimately help to inform the development of policies and strategies that ensure a cost-effective use of healthcare resources.

Find out more about the ‘Expectations in healthcare testing' study at the newly launched project website.

Research at Monash