Are Doctors Ready to Talk about Health Care Costs with Patients?

While I was on vacation, I spoke with reporter about a topic near and dear to my heart – importance of getting clinicians to talk about health care costs with their patients. The reporter put together a very nice piece on the topic, which I thought I would share with you:

Doctors Aren’t Grasping For Cost Transparency Tools
By Richard Mark Kirkner

In health care’s bad old days, doctors were often woefully ignorant of the costs to patients of the services they recommended. Today, with the industry striving to achieve cost transparency and physicians still the key influence on patient decision making, evidence suggests that in too many cases the bad old days are still here.

As health plans develop and refine tools to give members detailed information about how much they will pay for tests, procedures, and hospitalizations, members are taking that information to providers. Many of those providers, though well equipped to discuss the need for a test or procedure, are clueless about its cost — or where to get a more reasonably priced alternative.

That’s although physicians have a key role to play in helping payers and patients realize the savings the new cost transparency tools have been designed to yield. Despite their influence, doctors may be the last on board the cost-containment train as it prepares to leave the station…

(Continue reading here)

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