July 16, 2018 – Author, Les Masterson
- Executive and clinician respondents to a new NEJM Catalyst survey said knowing out-of-pocket costs is important to patients and more than 60% said physicians are responsible for educating patients about these costs. However, nearly half don’t think physicians should be held accountable for those costs.
- Slightly more than three-fourths of respondents said their organizations consider the cost to the practice and system when making clinical decisions. A slightly lower number (72%) said they consider patient out-of-pocket costs, while 68% said they think about the total cost of care.
- Respondents said the stakeholders that have the biggest impact on healthcare costs are pharmaceutical/biotech companies (87%), health plans (81%) and hospitals/health systems/physician organizations (75%). Only 28% pointed the finger at individual clinicians and even fewer blamed employers (26%) and patients (23%).
These results show that thought leaders believe physicians should play a role, but shouldn’t be penalized for the actual cost of care. Plus, other healthcare stakeholders are encouraged to improve processes and tools to better educate patients on costs.
The findings come as more payers are pushing providers into value-based contracting. The different payment method incentivizes and penalizes physicians and health systems to keep costs under control and provide a minimum level of care quality. The concept behind value-based payment does include holding doctors accountable for costs to an extent.