AHA exec: Hospitals must reduce non-beneficial care

Healthcare systems and hospitals can give better care and reduce costs by reducing non-beneficial care, according to John R. Combes, M.D., in an article published in Hospitals & Health Networks.

Hospitals can curb spending by promoting and rewarding accountability, as well as using limited resources wisely by eliminating non-value-added treatments and revamping care for vulnerable populations, Combes, a senior vice president of the American Hospital Association (AHA) and president of the Center for Healthcare Governance, wrote.

"As we transform the healthcare delivery system, all participants need to ensure that the finite resources in healthcare are used to improve the quality of care and provide the greatest benefit to patients," Combes wrote.

For example, overuse of antibiotics and scanning technologies can lead to higher costs and harm to patients. Healthcare leaders must also focus on reducing low-value treatments, while promoting high-value, evidence based practices. Patient engagement and education, which allow patients to get involved in the decision-making process and reduce non-beneficial care, are crucial to this endeavor, according to the article.

Combes cites a November white paper from the AHA which highlights five hospital-based interventions that patients and physicians should discuss prior to procedures:

  • blood management in inpatient services

  • antimicrobial stewardship

  • inpatient admissions for ambulatory-sensitive conditions (low back pain, asthma, uncomplicated pneumonia)

  • elective percutaneous coronary intervention

  • intensive care unit for imminently terminal illness (including encouraging early inter­vention and discussion about priorities for medical care in the context of progressive disease)

As the movement toward value-based care picks up, some doctors still order unnecessary tests. Three out of four physicians polled said their colleagues prescribe an unnecessary test or procedure at least once a week, according to results of a survey commissioned by the Choosing Wisely campaign, FierceHealthPayerAntiFraud previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the article
- check out the white paper