Focus on waste 'can deliver' health service efficiency

05 March, 2015

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has welcomed the Greens' proposal to address waste in the health system.

AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven acknowledged the ideals behind the proposal were consistent with the direction outlined in the AHHA's 2014 Pre-Budget submission.

"Addressing the sustainability of the health sector by focussing on efficiency is a more practical and sensible approach than shifting costs and increasing out-of-pocket expenses," Verhoeven said.

"As outlined in our Pre-Budget submission, the AHHA supports initiatives like Choosing Wisely, a program driven by clinicians who use an evidence-based approach to identify low-value or no value investigations and treatments to free up resources for the provision of more effective and timely care for those who will benefit most.

Patient benefits

"Patients benefit by avoiding unnecessary tests and interventions with the associated costs, inconvenience, loss of time and productivity."

Verhoeven said that the Federal Government could use existing resources to create efficiencies and reduce waste.

"A systematic approach that links the work of the Choosing Wisely program to the Medical Services Advisory Committee and Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee processes would provide an effective lever to drive changes to care and reduce unnecessary and ineffective expenditure in the health system," Verhoeven said.

"The vast majority of the items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) have not been formally assessed against contemporary evidence of safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

"Linking the MBS review process to the Choosing Wisely program would create efficiencies through the common evidentiary review processes, as well as through the disinvestment decisions that would be mutually agreed across Government and clinicians."