Appropriate Use of Medical Resources

Appropriate Use of Medical Resources

The “Appropriate Use of Medical Resources” white paper identifies some of the drivers of health care utilization and its contributing factors. More importantly, the paper recommends a way to move forward that will place hospitals at the forefront of innovative change for reducing non-beneficial services while improving health care overall. Among our efforts, we have developed a “top five” list of hospital-based procedures or interventions that should be reviewed and discussed by a patient and physician prior to proceeding.

This paper builds on the "Ensuring a Healthier Tomorrow” report which identified two interconnected strategies to improve care while achieving a sustainable level of health care spending: promote and reward accountability, and use limited health care dollars wisely. As an outgrowth of the latter, the AHA, with guidance from its Committee on Clinical Leadership, Physician Leadership Forum, regional policy boards and governing councils and committees, closely examined the appropriate use of medical resources.

To begin the discussion in your hospital and community, share “Appropriate Use of Medical Resources” with your board, medical staff, and community leaders and use the accompanying discussion guide to explore the issue together. In the coming months, the AHA will roll out resources targeting each of the five procedures or interventions. We also will share best practices from hospitals and health systems that are already on this path. If your organization is well on the path to adopting one, please share your story with us at

AHA’s “top five” list of hospital-based procedures or interventions that should be reviewed and discussed by a patient and physician prior to proceeding.
  • Appropriate blood management in inpatient services;
  • Appropriate antimicrobial stewardship;
  • Reducing inpatient admissions for ambulatory-sensitive conditions (i.e., low back pain, asthma, uncomplicated pneumonia);
  • Appropriate use of elective percutaneous coronary intervention; and
  • Appropriate use of the intensive care unit for imminently terminal illness (including encouraging early intervention and discussion about priorities for medical care in the context of progressive disease).



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