Thomson Reuters Paper Charts Course to Eliminating $3.6 Trillion in Healthcare Waste in a Decade


ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 14 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. healthcare industry can eliminate $3.6 trillion in healthcare waste over the next 10 years by addressing a series of operational inefficiencies, according to a white paper published today by Thomson Reuters.

The report analyzes the country’s leading public and private sector efforts to reduce waste in the healthcare system and identifies five proven strategies that have been deployed in the real world to cut costs and improve patient care.

“Last year, we published a report concluding that the U.S. healthcare system wastes $700 billion a year,” said Bob Kelley, vice president for healthcare analytics at Thomson Reuters and co-author of the paper released today. “This new report describes a possible path for significantly reducing that waste.”

By systematically incorporating these best practices into the organizational structure of the healthcare industry, the new paper says, it’s possible to cut waste 5 percent per year. Over 10 years, that would add up to $3.6 trillion and keep total healthcare expenditures at their current rate of about 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Among the strategies outlined in the paper are the following:

  --  Engage Consumers: By engaging the public in discussions with their
      caregivers regarding the value and risk of specific treatment options,
      it is possible to dramatically reduce money spent for unnecessary

  --  Coordinate Care: Healthcare providers lacking access to patients'
      medical records leads to the duplication of tests and inappropriate
      treatments that are estimated to cost up to $50 billion annually.
      Simple incentives have made a significant difference in the
      implementation of electronic records in several healthcare systems.

  --  Manage Disease and Maintain Wellness: This strategy ensures that
      patients are actively engaged, along with their clinicians, in
      managing their own health through attention to personal behavior,
      disease prevention, early detection and appropriate care for chronic

  --  Design for Patient Safety and Quality: Preventable medical errors
      account for $50 billion to $100 billion in annual healthcare spending.
      By implementing a simple checklist approach based on evidence-based
      best practices, several healthcare systems have improved patient
      outcomes and reduced costs.

  --  Reduce Opportunities for Fraud: In 2007, when the U.S. spent roughly
      $2.3 trillion on healthcare, fraud was estimated to account for as
      much as 5 to 10 percent of healthcare spending, according to a report
      published by the George Washington University School of Public Health
      and Health Services. Computerized systems that track data anomalies to
      identify fraud and breaches in payment integrity have been proven to
      stem these costs in several state Medicaid programs.

“We started with a premise that RAND Health researchers put forth in a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine — it is reasonable to set a goal of constraining healthcare spending to its current share of the GDP,” said Ray Fabius, M.D., chief medical officer at Thomson Reuters and co-author of the white paper. “Then we investigated initiatives that have successfully reduced healthcare costs without sacrificing quality — real-world examples of what’s possible — and in some cases estimated the savings if they were widely replicated.

“The result, detailed in this paper, is one path for reaching this goal over the next decade.”

The study can be downloaded at (A simple registration is required.)

Thomson Reuters

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Source: Thomson Reuters

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