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When Physicians See Costs, They Act Like Consumers



When doctors are told the price of diagnostic laboratory tests, they respond like informed consumers and either order fewer tests or shop around for cheaper alternatives, a study shows.



2 comments on "When Physicians See Costs, They Act Like Consumers"
Tubor Rathke (4/16/2013 at 1:26 PM)

The public has been bamboozled into believing that doctors order extra tests, driving up the cost of healthcare, because they fear malpractice lawsuits. Here is proof that doctors do extra testing because it's faster, more accurate, and easier than trying to diagnosis using a physical exam alone and that, when they don't have to worry about costs, they don't worry about costs.
flpoggio (4/16/2013 at 10:33 AM)

Nothing new here. This study has been done a thousand times. When I was the CFO at Univ of Wisconsin in 1977 we did this very same project, and got the same results. But here's what we learned afer six months. The test order volumes fall off for about three months, then the docs get conditioned to it, rationalize why the tests are necessary, and in about 6 months the volume is back where it was. One way they rationalize it is saying "hey, the patient isn't paying for it, the einsurance company is or Medicare, so it's little or no cost to the patient". The only real change that happens that sticks is when the doc has some skin in the game, ala Mayo (or ACO).