Scalpel or Scope? Costs Influence Consumers

Jan 01, 2014 12:00 AM

Author: Eric R. Scaife

Consumer price comparison is almost nonexistent in the U.S. health care system, but University surgeons show in a study that when given the choice between a less costly "open" operation or a pricier laparoscopy for their children's appendicitis, parents were almost twice as likely to choose the less expensive procedure — when they were aware of the cost difference.

The study, shows that providing pricing information upfront can influence patient choice of surgical procedures and potentially lead to cost savings in health care, a sector of the economy that accounts for more than 17 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, says Eric R. Scaife, M.D., senior author, associate professor of surgery and chief of pediatric surgery. Surgery resident Katie W. Russell, M.D., is the study's first author.

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