Institute for Healthcare Improvement Broadcast

Preventing Financial Harm to Patients: The Costs of Care Initiative

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Overview

It's an all-too-familiar scenario: a doctor mapping out next steps at a medical appointment — perhaps prescribing new medications or ordering some tests —oblivious to the costs, including whether the patient might bear the brunt of them.  Some now consider this a form of harm that physicians, nurses, and others need to become more conscious of and do everything possible to prevent. That’s why we hope you’ll tune into the August 21 WIHI, Preventing Financial Harm to Patients: the Costs of Care Initiative, where you'll learn about an innovative effort in the US to help caregivers make more high-value decisions that can protect patients from unnecessary care and expenses.

Fortunately, more providers today appreciate that they have a role to play in reducing overall health care costs in the US – especially when entrenched habits and “business as usual” lead to ordering a lot of procedures of questionable value. But it’s newer to translate this awareness into honest discussions with patients about treatment options in the context of their specific medical benefits and any financial concerns. Doing this in a way that does not compromise care, proponents argue, is both essential and possible. 
 
Asking doctors and nurses to become more accountable for the financial burdens they may be unwittingly imposing on their patients has been the work of Dr. Neel Shah, the founder of Costs of Care. Dr. Shah and the assembled panel for the August 21 WIHI will walk us through the many ways patients and their caregivers can both become more cost-conscious and, together, make better decisions. It’s a different kind of partnership that, on the one hand, can ensure that recommended care is followed and feasible; and on the other hand, could prevent someone from medical bankruptcy. We hope you’ll add your ideas to the ones you’re sure to learn about on the August 21 WIHI. See you then. 
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