Reducing Waste in the System

At the OPM FEHBP Carrier Conference last month, Medco CEO David Snow explained the of reducing waste in the health care system will provide the funding for new technologies, such as human genome research applications. (Remember that April 25 is National DNA Day!) Mr. Snow pointed out how new genetic based testing will pinpoint the proper dosage of medication. Three physician researchers at the VA Outcomes Group and faculty members at Dartmouth Medical School wrote an interesting article in the Washington Post health section today headlined “Finding More Cancer isn’t the Answer.” Much public emphasis is placed on finding cancer early, but the authors point out that in some cases finding cancer early does save lives but in other cases it is irrelevant because either the cancer is very aggressive or it’s not particularly dangerous. The trick is to identify and use the testing that will save lives. I trust that this is where the various quality initiatives that are part of the Government’s quality transparency initiative will play an important role.