Spending Wisely on Health

According to the Institute of Medicine, in 2013, there was an estimated $765 billion in wasted health care expenditures due to low-value care, which shows that work still needs to be done to reduce its impact on our overall health care system.

Attempts to reduce cost-inefficient and clinically ineffective care, such as the Choosing Wisely initiative, have focused on the areas where there is general agreement on what constitutes low-value care. Identifying wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures has allowed physicians to make better decisions on a patient’s care plan based on their unique situation and contributed to a reduction in the cost of care. Now, however, there is a need to move forward and understand where the new consensus exists on defining and measuring other areas of low-value care. Studies have shown that there are three areas where that consensus exists to begin further efforts to reduce low-value care and improve quality and lower costs. These areas include:

  • Medical errors, which are the highest priority reduction,
  • Pricing failures, and
  • Overuse and overtreatment.