Waste results from:
Unneeded services • Mistakes • Missed prevention opportunities • Delivery system ineffectiveness
Any health care procedure, inpatient stay, medication, therapy or test that does not meet the objectives of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim—improving patient satisfaction and the health of populations while also reducing the per capita cost of health care—meets the definition of waste.
Waste in health care means lower margins and lost revenue opportunities for hospitals. But the financial impact of waste is not the only consequence: Waste and poor quality of care go hand-in-hand.
When patients receive unnecessary medical treatment, it costs both the patient and the hospital time, money, unnecessary risks to the patient and legal liability risks to the hospital for patient harm.
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer.3
Excess expenditures. Wasted time and resources.
Lower quality care. Poor patient outcomes.
We see the “What?” behind health care waste inefficiencies.
But can we see the “Why?”
Understanding the factors that create waste in health care is the first
step in reducing costs and improving patient outcomes.
A hospital records $1.4 million in unexpected costs from excess ICU days.
The majority of excess ICU costs are traced to septicemia patients who are admitted Friday and Sunday; no hospitalist is on duty those days.
For those days, hire a hospitalist who can focus on septicemia patients.
A hospital finds that 60-day, post-acute care expenditures for congestive heart failure are 41% over the expected rate, resulting in $28 million in excess expenditures.
During the 60 days post-discharge, primary care physician (PCP) visits are 25 percent lower than expected, and outpatient laboratory testing is 38 percent lower than expected.
This insight reveals that the hospital is underutilizing PCP visits and laboratory testing to monitor conditions.
Correct the underutilization by improving care coordination and patient engagement programs.
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