Waste in the Health Care System

On September 10, 2012, the New York Times published an article regarding a recent report released by the Institute of Medicine describing serious problems in the U.S. health care system. The report highlights costly health care spending that occurred in the U.S. in recent years, and specifically indicates that approximately thirty percent of health care costs in 2009 were unnecessary. Furthermore, the report specifies that these problems may be attributed to a lack of coordination amongst U.S. health care professionals.

The report from the Institute of Medicine provides additional examples of inefficiencies in the U.S. health care system. According to the report, approximately twenty percent of patients did not have their medical records transferred to another facility in time for an appointment, necessitating additional visits. Furthermore, approximately three-quarters of hospital patients could not identify the provider in charge of their care. Approximately two-thirds of patients were unaware of the costs of their care until after receiving a bill. And perhaps most worrisome, approximately one-third of patients were harmed in some way during their hospital stay.

Although the report underlines many problems in the U.S. health care system, it also provides ways to improve. Recommendations include providing usable information to both patients and doctors when making decisions on treatments, adopting technology that assists in cutting costs and improving reliability, and allowing the patient to be a part of clinical decisions.

See the New York Times article at:

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