Public Policy

Special Interest Groups Target Healthcare Waste


As HM ramps up its efforts to eliminate wasteful and unnecessary medical treatments through its participation in the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation’s Choosing Wisely Campaign (, two new policy reports help to delineate the problem of waste in healthcare.

The Health Affairs health policy brief “Reducing Waste in Health Care” concludes that a third or more of U.S. healthcare spending could be considered wasteful.4 Its categories of waste include unnecessary services, inefficiently delivered services, excessive prices and administrative costs, fraud, and abuse—along with a handful of categories familiar to hospitalists: failures of care coordination, avoidable hospital readmissions, and missed prevention opportunities.

The policy brief offers potential solutions, including increased provider use of digital data to improve care coordination and delivery, and heightened transparency of provider performance for consumers.

On Jan. 10, the Commonwealth Fund proposed a new set of strategies to slow health spending growth by $2 trillion dollars over the next 10 years.5 The report outlines a broad set of policies to change the way healthcare is paid for, accelerating a variety of delivery system innovations already under way; disseminate better quality and cost information to enhance consumers’ ability to choose high-value care; and address the market forces that drive up costs.

“We know that by innovating and coordinating care, our healthcare system can provide better care at lower cost,” Commonwealth Fund president David Blumenthal, MD, said in the report.


  1. Health Affairs. Health Policy Brief: Reducing Waste in Health Care. Health Affairs website. Available at: Accessed Jan. 10, 2013.
  2. The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. Confronting Costs: Stabilizing U.S. Health Spending While Moving Toward a High Performance Health Care System. The Commonwealth Fund website. Available at: Accessed Feb. 2, 2013.

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