Health policies and data


Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health

Following a brief pause after the economic crisis, health expenditure is rising again in most OECD countries. Yet, a considerable part of this health expenditure makes little or no contribution to improving people's health. In some cases, it even results in worse health outcomes. Countries could potentially spend significantly less on health care with no impact on health system performance, or on health outcomes. This report systematically reviews strategies put in place by countries to limit ineffective spending and waste. On the clinical front, preventable errors and low-value care are discussed. The operational waste discussion reviews strategies to obtain lower prices for medical goods and to better target the use of expensive inputs. Finally, the report reviews countries experiences in containing administrative costs and integrity violations in health.

Published on January 10, 2017


Executive summary
Acronyms and abbreviations
Ineffective spending and waste in health care systems: Framework and findings
Wasteful clinical care in health care systems2 chapters available
Producing the right health care: Reducing low-value care and adverse events
Low-value health care with high stakes: Promoting the rational use of antimicrobials
Addressing operational waste in health care systems: Opportunities to spend less on pharmaceuticals and hospital care2 chapters available
Reducing ineffective health care spending on pharmaceuticals
Addressing operational waste by better targeting the use of hospital care
Governance-related waste in health care systems2 chapters available
Administrative spending in OECD health care systems: Where is the fat and can it be trimmed?
Wasting with intention: Fraud, abuse, corruption and other integrity violations in the health sector
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