Overuse of imaging test such as CT scanners, MRIs and X-rays is one example. These tests can be ordered without need, resulting in increased costs as well as possible harm due to unnecessary exposure to radiation. Implementing decision-support tools and guidelines to help determine whether imaging tests are really necessary is one solution proposed to solve this problem.
Antibiotics are another common example. In many cases, antibacterials are prescribed to treat viral infections. These do not usually respond to antibiotics. This can increase healthcare costs as well as antibiotic resistance and cause side effects. To improve the use of these dollars, providers and patients could be educated about the risks of antibiotic overuse and how to properly utilize them.
There are other issues, too, like administrative waste. This includes unnecessary bureaucracy and paperwork, and can increase costs or decrease efficiency. To reduce administrative waste, it may be necessary to simplify and streamline administrative processes as well as reduce the administrative burden for healthcare providers.
In order to reduce wasted dollars in healthcare, we will need a multi-faceted approach, which includes improving clinical decision making, raising awareness, and streamlining the administrative process.