Author Affiliations: Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Drs Volpp and Asch); Penn CMU Roybal P30 Center in Behavioral Economics and Health (Drs Volpp, Loewenstein, and Asch), Leonard Davis Institute Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (Drs Volpp, Loewenstein, and Asch), Department of Medicine, School of Medicine (Drs Volpp and Asch), and Department of Health Care Management, the Wharton School (Drs Volpp and Asch), University of Pennsylvania; and Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University (Dr Loewenstein).
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.
Kevin G. Volpp, George Loewenstein, David A. Asch. Assessing Value in Health Care Programs. JAMA. 2012;307(20):2153–2154. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3619