'Informed Decision' May Irk Surgeons as It Cuts Costs, Improves Quality

Cheryl Clark, August 16, 2012

Get ready for the latest idea in healthcare, the informed shared medical decision.  It's a concept that will either make you angry enough to scream or restore your faith in the system.

I hope it does the latter.

Because if this idea takes off, as it probably will, it's certain to dramatically narrow the field of patients who unnecessarily go under the knife or scope, even if it upsets some surgeons and interventionalists in the process. 

Yes, it could hurt fee-for-service specialists' and hospitals' pocketbooks by reducing volume. But it could greatly improve quality of care and the health of the healthcare dollar.

The process might work like this: Instead of the primary care physician referring a patient to a specialist for a non-emergent procedure—say, an operation on a bum knee—as is done today, the PCP would order and review the imaging tests, and then refer the patient to a class, a DVD, or an interactive online tool.


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