small ideas 11-14

blog

January 29, 2014

Small Ideas for Saving Big Health Care Dollars (No. 11-14)

All month, the RAND Blog has highlighted small ideas for saving big health care dollars. For example, last week's small ideas No. 8-10 targeted common infections in health care settings, which could enhance patient safety, as well as contain costs.

Small ideas No. 11-14 below wrap up this month's exploration of innovative ideas for saving health care dollars. You can read a full report on this project here.

With the United States spending $2.8 trillion per year on health care, it cannot afford to leave money on the table.

Thinking small could save big.

— Pete Wilmoth

Small Idea #11

Use preoperative and anesthesia checklists

Rationale

Checklists can reduce surgical complications and their associated treatment costs.

Estimated annual savings1

$170 million

Feasibility

  • Political: High
  • Operational: Medium

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Small Idea #12

Prevent in-facility pressure ulcers

Rationale

Interventions to reduce in-facility pressure ulcers, including components focused on organization, prevention, and care coordination can reduce the frequency of pressure ulcers and their associated treatment costs.

Estimated annual savings1

$2.4 billion

Feasibility

  • Political: High
  • Operational: Medium

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Small Idea #13

Use ultrasound guidance for central line placement

Rationale

Real-time ultrasonography for central line placement reduces complications and associated treatment costs.

Estimated annual savings1

$56 million

Feasibility

  • Political: High
  • Operational: Medium

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Small Idea #14

Prevent recurrent falls

Rationale

Physician payment for fall risk assessment, reimbursement for rehabilitation, and payment for a follow-up visit could prevent recurrent falls among Medicare beneficiaries, providing cost savings.

Estimated annual savings1

$900 million

Feasibility

  • Political: High
  • Operational: Medium

Learn More

1All estimates are in 2012 dollars.