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The cost of routine inpatient labs

August 14, 2009

Clinical Correlations has an excellent post on the cost involved in ordering routine labs for patients in the hospital.

I think I liked this post so much because it’s an excellent example of one of the little things that contributes to increasing health care costs.  Unfortunately, there is no single cause to the cost crisis in our health care system.  Equally unfortunate is our tendency as humans to look for a single cause and try to eliminate it.  This is what has happened with attempts to control spiraling health care costs by lowering physician reimbursement.  Physician reimbursement is only one small piece of the pie.  Our health care delivery system is so complex and the nickels and dimes at each step of the process (like daily labs for inpatients) contribute to rising health care costs.  Somehow the whole culture within the health care system needs to change.  Although I think certain reform measures can alleviate a few of our current problems, until there is change that comes from the system itself we will continue to have problems.

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