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Many physicians do not consider patients' out-of-pocket costs

Physician Practice Advisor, April 11, 2007

Many physicians do not routinely consider insured patients' out-of-pocket costs when recommending medical care, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change that appeared in the April 9 Archives of Internal Medicine.

Based on a study of 6,628 practicing physicians, researchers found that:

  • 40.2% consider costs when recommending diagnostic tests
  • 51.2% consider patient costs when deciding between hospitalization and outpatient treatment
  • 80% of physicians consider patient costs when prescribing generic drugs
  • Primary care physicians were more likely than medical specialists to consider patients' costs in each category measured

Researchers concluded that "whether increased cost sharing can effectively control healthcare spending depends on whether patients and physicians can together consider costs during clinical decision making."

Click here to access the study.