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Physicians Offer a Bundle of Opinions

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, May 30, 2013

That's the finding of a recent Booz & Co. survey of more than 400 physicians and 150 hospital administrators.

Physicians in large groups are generally enthusiastic about bundles, according to the Booz survey. The data show that doctors in larger, multispecialty groups or employed by a health system are more interested in bundles (59%), compared to single specialty practices, 24%. Moreover, a significant number of single practices doubt the efficacy of bundles (44%), compared to how many multispecialty groups hold that view, 27%.

Booz officials concede some physicians are saying "not so fast," especially when it comes to bundles' quality and experience benefits.

Hospitals both large and small reflect the attitudes of physicians about bundling, the Booz survey shows.

About 30% of hospitals surveyed are "pursuing" the model, and another 51% are "exploring" the idea. Some 53% of large health systems with more than $1 billion in annual revenues are beginning to implement bundles. In addition, nearly 64% of those embarking on bundling reported cost savings.

In contrast, 24% of smaller healthcare systems are implementing bundling programs. About 20% of smaller systems see "little efficacy" in bundling.

Proponents of bundling see it as a major tool for achieving goals of the Affordable Care Act. Nearly all large systems are expected to develop bundles. Consumers, too, have high hopes about bundling, with three-quarters finding the concept appealing, according to the Booz survey. I have written about several bundling projects, that are either finding good outcomes, such as in cardiac care or are still being evaluated in cancer care.

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