Tackling Low-Value Care: A New “Top Five” for Purchaser Action

Excerpt from Health Affairs:

More than one-fifth of all medical care may be unnecessary, according to a recent survey of physicians. This low-value care—that is, patient care with no net benefit in specific clinical scenarios—costs patients, purchasers, and taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars every year. A recent Health Affairs study reported that more than $500 million was spent in 2014 on 44 low-value health services in one US state.

Despite the hard work of the Choosing Wisely campaign and its partners, awareness of the initiative remains limited and low-value care persists at unacceptably high rates. New efforts are urgently needed to translate research and guidelines into action.

In many respects, public and private health care purchasers have been missing from the low-value care elimination movement. That must change. But with more than 500 Choosing Wisely recommendations, and hundreds of guidelines from related efforts, purchasers need a place to begin. A new Task Force on Low-Value Care—comprised of leading purchasers, patient advocates, employer coalitions, and other health care stakeholders—has a clear message: “start here.”

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