Peter A. Ubel and six other colleagues undertook a qualitative study of audio-recorded clinical encounters from outpatient clinic visits for patients with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and depression. They discovered two main ways physicians fail to address their patients’ out-of-pocket expenses; either by failure to notice the patients’ financial concerns, or failure to address the concerns satisfactorily. Both of which often leads patients to forego necessary health services. The authors identified and explored some of the causes behind physicians’ failure to fully engage in cost-saving strategies including clinical distractions, assumptions regarding coverage and generic drug costs, and focusing on temporary solutions. Although the authors assure that they are not blaming physicians for their patients incurring high out-of-pocket costs, they also realize that physicians want to increase the likelihood that their patients will receive the proper health interventions. This cannot be achieved unless they know how their behaviors contribute to their patients’ out-of-pocket expenses.
Read more in “Study Of Physician And Patient Communication Identifies Missed Opportunities To Help Reduce Patients’ Out-Of-Pocket Spending” Health Affairs
Ubel, P.A., Zhang, C.J., Hesson, A., Davis, K.J., Kirby, C., Barnett, J., & Hunter W.G. (2016). Study Of Physician And Patient Communication Identifies Missed Opportunities To Help Reduce Patients’ Out-Of-Pocket Spending. Health Affairs. 35, 4, 654-661. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1280