60% of employers aren't tracking wasteful healthcare spending

Most employers are not collecting or analyzing data to track unnecessary healthcare spending, even though they see waste as a problem, according to a survey from National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions and Benfield, part of the Gallagher Human Resources & Compensation Consulting Practice.

The survey involved 126 U.S. employers in several industries, including manufacturing, education, financial services and healthcare. For the purposes of the survey, waste was defined as "procedures and treatments that are overused, have limited effectiveness, and/or are repetitive to tests and procedures that have already been conducted."

Four findings:

1. Healthcare is estimated to waste about $750 billion annually, and respondents said they view this is a problem. More than half of them  (57 percent) said they believe up to 25 percent of treatments employees and dependents receive are unnecessary.

2. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said their organizations don't collect or analyze data to track waste, internally or through their vendors.

3. Respondents cited medical imaging, specialty drugs, prescription medications and  clinical tests as the largest contributors to waste.

4. Most respondents said their organizations haven't seen significant success in managing healthcare waste. Twenty-five percent said their organization's efforts in medical imaging have been very effective, and 12 percent said their organization's efforts in specialty physician referrals have been very effective.

Access the full survey results here.

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