Over the past two decades – and the past five years in particular – a national discussion emerged that focused on managing rising health care costs. These increases have not always led to improved outcomes, and at the same time, medical knowledge has increased exponentially and clinical knowledge is doubling as fast as every two years. But with all this knowledge looms a larger debate, when are we doing too much and how do we decide?

In late 2013, the American Hospital Association (AHA), through its Physician Leadership Forum (PLF), launched the Appropriate Use of Medical Resources initiative to address the issue of managing health care costs while also improving health outcomes. The initiative focused on five areas: blood management, antimicrobial stewardship, ambulatory care sensitive conditions, elective percutaneous coronary intervention and aligning treatment with patient priorities for use of the ICU.

Today, we launch the compendium of all the toolkits and whitepapers associated with the Appropriate Use of Medical Resources initiative to help hospitals, in partnership with their clinical staff and patients, to closely examine the use of medical resources in these five areas.

We encourage hospitals to share Appropriate Use of Medical Resources with their boards, medical staff and community leaders and use its discussion guide to explore the issue together, then make use of the toolkits targeting each of the five procedures or interventions.

By managing the use the medical resources we can provide better patient care at a more affordable cost – something we can all agree is critical in our evolving health care environment.