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May 23/30, 2012

Assessing Value in Health Care Programs

JAMA. 2012;307(20):2153-2154. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3619

Many health care services provided in the United States are of low value, meaning that the cost of providing those services is high relative to the health care benefit they confer. In some cases, the care provided may have no value or even, on average, may be harmful. Examples of low- or negative-value services include unnecessary surgery or diagnostic imaging that will not change management. Given estimates that 30% of the $2.5 trillion the United States spends on health care services each year may provide little benefit,1 there is a widespread eagerness to enhance the ratio of benefits to costs.

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