by Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News
In recent years, consumers have increasingly been encouraged by employers and insurers to help control rising health care costs. That may be by avoiding unnecessary tests, buying generic drugs and reducing visits to the emergency room, among other things. The hope is that a patient better educated and more engaged in health decisions will choose options that will promote better health and decrease costs.
Such “patient engagement” efforts assume that patients welcome the opportunity–or at least are willing–to get more involved in their own care. But as a study published last month in the journal Health Affairs found, a majority of patients didn’t want to factor costs into their medical decisions, nor did they want their doctors to do so.
Study co-author Susan Dorr Goold is a professor of internal medicine and health management and policy at the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan. Dorr Goold says her team was surprised at how frequently people talked about not wanting cost considerations to factor into decision-making at all.