Julie Ferguson of Workers’ Comp Insider did an excellent (as usual!) job of hosting the most recent Cavalcade of Risk, mixing humor and risk into an edition that is both humorous and informative. I especially liked this post from Dr. Jaan Sidorov of the Disease Management Care Blog, writing about injection errors in hospitals: an avoidable error results from one out of every 400 injections in US hospitals. Not all of them are especially costly, but some are, and the total cost adds up to $5 billion a year. Dr. Sidorov makes the excellent point that while $5 billion on its own is a drop in the bucket in terms of overall US healthcare costs, there isn’t any single solution that is going to result in a monumental reduction in healthcare costs. In order to reduce costs significantly, we’re going to have to make lots of small adjustments that add up to a large total savings.
I also saw an estimate yesterday that noted that if we could get our c-section rate down from the current 33% to 15% (WHO recommends that ideally, c-section rates should be below 15%), we could save $5 billion on maternity care.
Both of these scenarios describe changes that need to be made anyway in order to improve healthcare outcomes (fewer injection errors and fewer c-sections would be better for patients), and together they would result in $10 billion in healthcare cost savings. If we identify numerous similar situations – and implement changes needed to make improvements – we could make significant headway in reducing the cost of healthcare, which would in turn reduce the price of health insurance.