Health staff know where savings can be made, says US “zero harm” expert

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 18 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2506
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

Plenty of opportunities exist to cut UK healthcare costs without reducing the quality of care, or even improving it, but health service leaders need to embrace change to deliver them, a leading authority on delivering better healthcare has said.

Donald Berwick, a paediatrician who cofounded and led the US Institute for Healthcare Improvement for 18 years, said that waste in the US healthcare system had been estimated at between 21% and 47% of expenditure. With annual healthcare costs in the United States in the region of $2.7 trillion (£1.8 trillion; €2.1 trillion), better management could result in savings of up to $1.2 trillion, with the median calculated at 34% of the total, or $910bn, said Berwick.

Although the figures derived from the US healthcare system, Berwick was confident that similar savings could …

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