By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Healthcare
The country's health system wastes $750 billion a year, thirty cents for every American dollar spent on care.
The U.S. Institute of Medicine announced in a report yesterday that the U.S. health system wastes over $750 billion a year, or thirty cents for every American dollar spent on care.
Here's how the 18-member panel broke down the waste, according to Victoria Colliver of SFGate (and yes, these numbers add up to $765 billion, dear close-readers):
- Unnecessary services: $210 billion
- Excessive administrative costs: $190 billion
- Inefficient delivery of care: $130 billion
- Inflated prices: $105 billion
- Fraud (from insurance companies, clinicians, and patients): $75 billion
- Missed prevention opportunities: $55 billion
That primary cost comes from what the group called the "maddening paradox" of U.S. healthcare, where patients are either over-treated or under-treated for their conditions. The authors recommend moving towards a system that rewards doctors for quality not quantity of care, to remove the impetus for prescribing unneccessary and costly tests and treatments. They also advise better implementation of electronic record-keeping.
As you're probably already all-to-aware, the U.S. spends more on health care than other countries while delivering less actual care. Julielynn Wong of ABC News reports:
The U.S. spends more than twice as much per person on health care as all other industrialized countries despite being the only developed country that doesn’t provide basic health insurance for all its citizens, according to Dr. Timothy Johnson, ABC News senior medical contributor and author of “The Truth About Getting Sick in America.” The U.S. also has the lowest life expectancy among the top five spenders on health care.
So what's going on here? Todd Hixon of Forbes has some theories I find viable, these are his explanations for the high cost of U.S. healthcare (summary in my words):
- Over-paid doctors, especially specialists
- Higher per capita income compared to other countries = more money to spend on health care ("an explanation, but not a good justification")
- Over-eager referrals for higher-cost care like scans, specialists, and hospital stays
We're spending enough money on ineffective healthcare that we could easily cover the costs of effective health care for the nation. But doctors in the U.S. have come to expect top-percentile pay, how do we change that? How do we tell wealthy patients they really don't need all those preventative tests? How do we make sure every person has a primary physician to adequately track their health? These are complicated challenges to face, but tackling them could save thousands of American lives annually.
Photo: Tom Hart/Flickr
Graph: Mary Meeker of KPCB
Sep 7, 2012
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My personal experience is the left hand does not know what the right hands is doing! Every time I went to emergency room first thing off the bat Cat Scan, or just check the heart only! This would not be the problem if they would just pull up records of all your visits! It seems they are only concerned in protecting their own bottoms and runs test that protect them and not want the customer needs! Another thing every doctor dealing with you should be in the loop or informed when you get tests or and what the main doctor wants done next. They should all communicate it would save so much pain and money. It could be done with a app and iPhone so easy. Maybe even save some lives. But there again it would mean Doctors would have to be involved with the patient and treat the whole person! We need to really step up the quality of care here in the USA! Thank God I had one Doctor that cared or I would be dead today. The others keep missing what was wrong!
...is that most consumers of health services are not the ones directly writing the check for it, so they really don't care.
One thing that should happen is that doctors should not be allowed to profit from the tests they order. They should not be allowed to refer a patient to a testing or treatment center that makes money for them.
It is also coming to India. Over investigation, unnecessary treatment, inflated cost, more profit, fraud and greedy people.