This article is very long, but with many interesting anecdotes—especially the one about Wal-Mart.
P.P.S., The business I am in now (medical software) is extremely complicated and has more initialisms than any government bureaucracy I can think of. One of them is MU, for “meaningful use”: If a healthcare provider can demonstrate good practices that result in better, cheaper, more efficient treatment, they are eligible for bonus payments from the gubmint. I think it’s optional and small so far but someday will be larger and mandatory. The ironic part, to me, is that the software that is used to provide medical services is also trapping and recording all the data needed by the providers to prove their case for “meaningful use.” Sort of the way Google uses *EVERY* bit of data that passes through its fingers to feed its business objectives.
Of course, there’s a long way to go in the elimination of Waste, Fraud and Abuse. I’m just surprised how much attention is already being given to it.
As for the patients:
… Over the past two decades, we’ve tripled the number of thyroid cancers we detect and remove in the United States, but we haven’t reduced the death rate at all. … (Meanwhile, [in South Korea] the number of people with permanent complications from thyroid surgery has skyrocketed.) It’s all over-diagnosis. We’re just catching turtles.
America’s Epidemic of Unnecessary Care – The New Yorker