7 key findings on physicians not understanding medical test & procedure costs

Lebanon, N.H.-based Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice researchers found many physicians lack an understanding about tests and procedures' cost, according to Science Daily.

Here are seven key findings:

1. Most physicians (92.2 percent) reported they have a responsibility to control costs.

2. However, 36.9 percent of those surveyed do not fully understand test and procedures' cost.

3. Nearly 33 percent of respondents reported it was not fair to ask physicians to be both cost-conscious and concerned with patient welfare.

4. One-third reported they try not to think about costs during treatment decisions.

5. Of those surveyed, nearly 47.2 percent of primary care physicians reported awareness of the Choosing Wisely campaign, an American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation initiative to help physicians better assess low-value healthcare services.

6. In comparison, 37.4 percent of medical specialists and 27 percent of surgical specialists were aware of the Choosing Wisely campaign.

7. More primary care physicians (68.3 percent) reported feeling pressure from patients to order tests and procedures, compared to medical specialists (58 percent) and surgical specialists (55.8 percent).

"Our analysis points to the fact that there is willingness on the part of physicians to forgo low-value care services, if they have appropriate support that addresses patient demand, malpractice concerns and other drivers of overuse," the study authors concluded. "But, it's also clear that to get a meaningful reduction in the use of low-value services, we need to engage more than just physicians. The behavior and attitudes of patients, regulators and other stakeholders all play a part in the consumption of these low-value services."

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