Physician engagement can cut waste

Guest post by Kenneth H. Cohn, practicing general surgeon/MBA and CEO of


Patrick Bresette of the national think tank Demos wrote that cutting waste increases public confidence in those who do so. Dealing with wasted money in healthcare is tricky because it is marbleized rather than something we trim with a meat cleaver.

Sources of waste include:1, 2

  • Duplicative of testing
  • Inventory
  • Arbitrary variation
  • Wait time
  • Errors in diagnosis, therapy and communication
  • Looking for supplies
  • Fraud
  • Working at the low end of one's skill set

All of these areas are within the purview of physicians to influence. For example, orthopedic surgeons at a California community teaching hospital agreed to standardize their technique and consolidate vendors, saving the hospital more than $5 million3.

Read the full commentary at Hospital Impact