Misalignments in health systems lead to waste | KPMG | GLOBAL
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New study: Misalignments in health systems lead to significant waste of financial resources & suboptimal health outcomes

Misalignments in health systems lead to waste


Head of External Communications, Global Industries

KPMG International


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Maximizing the effectiveness of available resources within health systems could potentially increase global life expectancy by over four years, according to a new white paper, Misaligned Stakeholders and Health Systems Underperformance. Alternatively, the world could save as much as US$3 trillion each year while maintaining current health outcomes if health sector stakeholders resolved ‘misalignments,’ which lead to the inefficient use of resources.

The white paper, researched and written by the World Economic Forum’s Industry Agenda Council (IAC) on the Future of the Health Sector in collaboration with KPMG, examines how health and efficiency are being compromised by misaligned incentives, behaviours, structures and policies within healthcare systems globally.

“Our research confirms that global health systems underperform partly as a result of misaligned resources among incentives, behaviors, structures, or policy,” said Dr. Mark Britnell, Chairman and Senior Partner of the Global Health Practice at KPMG International. “The good news is that where these misalignments can be identified, we believe they can largely be corrected while maintaining current levels of national health spending, and would enable global life expectancy to be extended.”

The report identifies three primary categories of misalignment: divergent objectives, power asymmetries and cooperation failures, and shows how they impact health and healthcare, focusing on three of the most pervasive and high cost global health issues – cancer, diabetes and mental health.

Based on research across 16 countries, the report cites examples of misalignments that are leading to either wasted financial resources or suboptimal health outcomes, including:

  • excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics that can fuel drug resistance
  • the inability of some governments to effectively address tobacco consumption and the resulting medical costs
  • inadequate payment mechanisms that impede the provision of over-the-phone or electronic consultation, resulting in inexpedient care, deteriorating health, and more expensive treatment
  • poor interoperability of electronic medical record (EMR) systems, which contributes to redundant testing, medical errors and disjointed care
  • lack of cooperative investment in healthcare innovation, which results in low uptake levels of new technologies, such as wearable monitors, tele-health interfaces and predictive analytics.

The report also highlights real-world examples showing how health sector stakeholders have acted to correct misalignments, while providing useful lessons, conclusions and recommendations on how health systems could potentially improve performance.

“This white paper demonstrates the true cost, both at a human and financial level, that misalignments currently exact on our health systems,” said Professor David E. Bloom, Chair of the IAC. “In so many cases, improving health outcomes is not about throwing more money at a problem. It’s about being more efficient with the resources currently available to us, and working more closely together to identify and overcome the many inefficiencies that plague the health sector.”

View the full report.

For further information, please contact:

Daniel Freeman

Midas PR

+44 (0)20 7361 7866



Kent Miller

KPMG International

+1 908 313 5037


About the report

The “Misaligned Stakeholders and Health Systems Underperformance” white paper was developed by the World Economic Forum’s Industry Agenda Council on the Future of the Health Sector in collaboration with KPMG. The document summarizes the findings of the Council’s two-year inquiry into the underperformance of health systems. Research was conducted to gain further insights into health deficits and disparities throughout the world, and to identify ways to better use available resources to improve health outcomes and reduce waste. In all, 60 interviews were conducted across 16 countries, covering healthcare providers, payers, pharmaceutical companies, patient groups, employers, and governmental and inter-governmental organizations. The views expressed in the white paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the World Economic Forum, nor its members and partners.

Members of the IAC (at the time of report development): David Agus, Peter Bach, Raymond Baxter (vice-chair), David E. Bloom (chair), Mark Britnell, Vijay Chandru, Francis Collins, Victor Dzau, Geoff Ginsburg, Adrian Gore, Andre Goy, Bernard Hoet, Stefan Kapferer (vice-chair), Suresh Kumar, Petra Laux, Javier Lozano, Bobby Prasad, Peer Schatz, Alfred Sommer, Alan Tennenberg, Mary Lou Valdez, Andrey Zarur, and former Council members John Glaser, Margaret Hamburg, and Pascale Witz.

About KPMG

KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 189,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the personal opinions of the interviewees and authors based on their personal experience working as Auditors in the industry and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.

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