Healthcare reform is forcing medical students to learn about the financial costs of the tests they order, as well as their clinical importance. Once a taboo topic, it’s being openly taught to students to prepare them for practice.
At Harvard, one physician in training duplicated television’s “The Price is Right” to keep his peers guessing at the costs of tests on a patient’s bill. Molly Cooke, FACP, a Regent of the College, encourages doctors to consider the value of the tests they order as they deliver care. (Kaiser Health News, New England Journal of Medicine)
The price isn’t right for electronic medical records. Even $44,000 in stimulus money isn’t enough to make doctors jump into using computers. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*
How much would a heart attack cost you? Quite a bit, according to CBS MoneyWatch.com:
According to an article from the National Business Group on Health, the average total [editor’s note: lifetime] cost of a severe heart attack -– including direct and indirect costs -– is about $1 million. Direct [lifetime] costs include charges for hospitals, doctors and prescription drugs, while indirect costs include lost productivity and time away from work. The average [lifetime] cost of a less-severe heart attack is about $760,000. Amortized over 20 years, that’s $50,000 per year for a severe heart attack and $38,000 per year for a less-severe heart attack.
I’m all for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but before we get all hot and bothered about performing more testing to “prevent” a heart attack as a means to save healthcare costs going forward, remember the lessons we learned from the Tim Russert fallout. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*