One third of U.S. healthcare costs are due to by errors, poor communication

The U.S. healthcare system wastes up to $850 billion annually--one third of the entire nation's healthcare costs--due to administrative inefficiency, unnecessary treatment, medical errors, fraud and other perennial blunders, according to a new report.

"By attacking waste, healthcare costs can be reduced without adversely affecting the quality of care or access to care," said Robert Kelley, vice president of healthcare analytics at Thomson Reuters, who wrote the report.

Among his findings:

* Unwarranted treatment, such as the over-use of antibiotics and the use of diagnostic lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure, accounts for about 40 percent of the wasteful spending (up to $325 billion annually);

* Redundant paperwork accounts for about 17 percent of the waste (up to $150 billion);

* Inefficient communication between providers, including lack of access to medical records when specialists intervene, is responsible for about 6 percent of the waste (up to $50 billion).

To learn more:
- read the press release