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Medical News & Perspectives |

Guidelines, Online Training Aim to Teach Physicians to Weigh Costs of Care, Become Better Stewards of Medical Resources

Bridget M. Kuehn, MSJ
JAMA. 2014;311(23):2368-2370. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.5756.
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With health care spending now accounting for 18% of the US gross domestic product, physicians—like everyone else—are concerned about it, said Neel Shah, MD, executive director of Costs of Care, a nonprofit organization working “to deflate” medical bills.

But physicians may be unaware how decisions they make contribute to patient or societal health costs, he said, noting that “nobody goes to school to treat GDP.”

In fact, many physicians were explicitly trained not to consider costs or came to equate overtesting or unnecessary treatment with being thorough. Some may be unaware what tests or procedures cost or are unsure how to integrate cost-effectiveness into practice. But the strain of spiraling health care costs on individuals and the economy has become hard for physicians to ignore.

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A growing movement urges physicians to become better stewards of medical resources. Several efforts are under way to help them become more aware of medical costs and avoid needlessly inflating medical bills.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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