Despite the importance of health care fraud and the political, legislative and administrative attentions paid to it, combating fraud remains a challenge to the health systems. We aimed to identify, categorize and assess the effectiveness of the interventions to combat health care fraud and abuse.
The interventions to combat health care fraud can be categorized as the interventions for ‘prevention’ and ‘detection’ of fraud, and ‘response’ to fraud. We conducted sensitive search strategies on Embase, CINAHL, and PsycINFO from 1975 to 2008, and Medline from 1975–2010, and on relevant professional and organizational websites. Articles assessing the effectiveness of any intervention to combat health care fraud were eligible for inclusion in our review. We considered including the interventional studies with or without a concurrent control group. Two authors assessed the studies for inclusion, and appraised the quality of the included studies. As a limited number of studies were found, we analyzed the data using narrative synthesis.
The searches retrieved 2229 titles, of which 221 full-text studies were assessed. We found no studies using an RCT design. Only four original articles (from the US and Taiwan) were included: two studies within the detection category, one in the response category, one under the detection and response categories, and no studies under the prevention category. The findings suggest that data-mining may improve fraud detection, and legal interventions as well as investment in anti-fraud activities may reduce fraud.
Our analysis shows a lack of evidence of effect of the interventions to combat health care fraud. Further studies using robust research methodologies are required in all aspects of dealing with health care fraud and abuse, assessing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of methods to prevent, detect, and respond to fraud in health care.