Doctors Order Fewer Lab Tests When They Are Aware of the Prices
Doctors order fewer laboratory tests during a patient’s hospital stay if they know how much the tests cost, according to a new study.
Researchers found that doctors at one U.S. hospital ordered about 9 percent fewer lab tests - such as blood work - when their computerized records system displayed the price. “(Before the study) we saw a lot of waste. We saw a lot of tests that didn’t need to be ordered,” said Dr. Leonard Feldman, the study’s lead author from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Part of the reason doctors order a lot of tests could be that they don’t know how expensive they are, according to the researchers. It’s estimated that the U.S. healthcare system wasted about $226 billion on overtreatment and unnecessary use of lab tests during 2011, Feldman and his colleagues wrote in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday.