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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.3-5 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.