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Commentary
February 6, 2008

From Waste to Value in Health Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (Dr Boat); Board on Health Care Services, Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC (Ms Chao); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Mr O’Neill).

JAMA. 2008;299(5):568-571. doi:10.1001/jama.299.5.568

The United States ranks among the worst of industrialized countries for indicators of health such as infant mortality and life expectancy,1 despite spending $2 trillion annually on health care,2 more than any other nation per capita. However, higher health care spending does not correlate with higher quality of care or better patient outcomes.35 These sobering indicators suggest that an opportunity exists to close the value gap in the day-to-day delivery of health care by eliminating actions that impede optimal systematic performance, which result in less than perfect outcomes, extra work, or corrective work, otherwise described as waste.

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