About 30% of health spending in 2009, or roughly $750 billion, was wasted on unnecessary services, according to a report released Thursday by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
In the 382-page report, an 18-member panel of experts identified challenges facing the health care system and provided recommendations for improvement.
During a live Webcast of the IOM report release on Thursday, Mark Smith—CEO of the California HealthCare Foundation and chair of the committee—said the U.S. health care system's two main challenges are cost and complexity.
The report linked wasted spending to unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud, and other problems. In addition, about 75,000 patient deaths could have been prevented in 2005 if every state had delivered health care at the quality level of the best-performing state, according to one estimate.
The report concluded, "The traditional systems for transmitting new knowledge—the ways clinicians are educated, deployed, rewarded, and updated—can no longer keep pace with scientific advances. If unaddressed, the current shortfalls in the performance of the nation's healthcare system will deepen on both quality and cost dimensions, challenging the well-being of Americans now and potentially far into the future."
The report offered the following 10 recommendations for improving the U.S. health care system, including:
The panel calls for leveraging health IT to meet many of the goals outlined in the report. For example, the report noted that:
In the report, the panel urged the National Coordinator for Health IT, IT vendors, and standard-setting groups to ensure that health IT systems are robust and interoperable (McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 9/6 [subscription required]; McCann, Healthcare IT News, 9/6; IOM report, 9/6; Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/Austin American-Statesman, 9/6).
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