Discharging Mr. Wood: Time to Get Serious About Waste

Posted on by CATALYSIS

Article in Today’s Hospitalist written by David A. Frenz, MD, a hospitalist for HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, Minn., and is board certified in both family and addiction medicine.

AMERICANS—both individually and as a nation— spend a boatload on health care. A study in the January 2013 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine pegged annual health care expenditures in the U.S. at $7,290 per capita, far more than in other Western countries. By way of comparison, the outlays were $3,895 in Canada and $2,992 in the U.K.

But those numbers themselves don’t tell you much. Maybe we’re spending more to get more. A Mazda and Mercedes both have four wheels and provide transportation, but there are big differences in terms of comfort, conveniences and safety. Surely, higher health care spending translates into better care.

At least that’s our collective delusion. The same study found that the U.S. was dead last for quality of care, access to care and health care efficiency in a comparison group that included Australia, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand and the U.K.

How to explain that disconnect? One word: waste. –

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