Healthcare News & Insights

Waste in health care: Where does it start?

For a variety of reasons, many patients seek wasteful, too-expensive care in ways that hurt every part of the system — health care providers, insurers and patients.

That’s the takeaway from a recent report in Health Affairs. Researchers from Emory University looked at acute care visits, such as coughs, fevers and stomach aches, made between 2001 and 2004.

The team found that only 42% were made to patients’ personal physicians. Another 28% of visits took place at emergency departments. On the weekends and after office-hours, EDs saw virtually all of the visits. Patients without insurance made more than half of the visits to EDs.

Most of the remaining visits were made to specialists (20%) or outpatient departments (7%).

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