In a single year, the Institute of Medicine estimated that $750 billion was spent in the U.S. on unnecessary healthcare services. A major piece of the expense? Unnecessary medical tests, which cost the average American hospital $1.7 million in 2009.
Too much or not enough?
The massive volume of orders and results that pass through a medical laboratory make it a valuable place to identify and eliminate waste — by flagging outdated tests, for example, or by pinpointing tests which were not appropriate for the situation. With a recent survey indicating that three out of four physicians believe unnecessary testing to be a major problem in health care, overutilization may be the most pressing issue in the lab space.