Generally, patients expect so much out of their physicians. To know everything and have all the answers to their questions is certainly one of the most common expectations. It is true that in this day and age the quality of care is synonymous with the care costs. Yet, a study has found that some physicians are not exactly confident in their current knowledge of costs of certain medical services.
Putting Their Knowledge to the Test
In a 2014 study, emergency physicians were tested on their perceived costs of common exams and procedures through Medicaid and Medicare services. These physicians were asked to estimate reimbursement rates of sets of medical exams and procedures, indicate their level of knowledge of care cost and assume its effect.
A 65% majority of physicians surveyed viewed their knowledge of reimbursement rates as inadequate. Yet 39% admitted that their knowledge impacts their ordering behavior. Out of the 97 emergency physicians surveyed, no one was able to estimate at least half of the costs listed with a ±25% range. But the services that were estimated correctly by one or more physicians was only a mere 17%.
Reading Between The Scores
There’s a good amount of physicians outside the ED who feel that it is unfair that they are expected to be both health and cost-conscious. And there’s truth to that. Physicians are starting to get stretched thin in this physician shortage, so it’s natural to feel there are more important things to worry about. Care costs are probably the furthest thing in their minds. But now is the time to make every single visit count and as effective as possible. And that involves a physician’s proficiency in medical economics. As the fate of healthcare is on nearly everyone’s mind these days, it’s something that cannot be ignored.
Camille Broadwater-Hollifield, Ph.D., MPH who created and administered the study with her colleagues, believes this study may just lead to educational programs that’ll improve the quality of care delivered in emergency departments.