Physicians say they don't have to be a part of cutting costs

July 23, 2013 at 11:08 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, July 23 (UPI) -- If physicians oppose ways to reduce healthcare costs -- as a survey suggests they do -- reform will fail, U.S. researchers suggest.

A survey of physicians, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed most physicians look to lawyers, insurance companies, drug and device manufacturers and even patients to bear the responsibility of controlling healthcare costs.

Only a third of the doctors said individual practicing physicians should bear responsibility to bending the cost curve. In addition, physicians were hesitant to support bold steps that could have meaningful effects on controlling healthcare costs, the survey said.

In an editorial accompanying the results of the survey, lead author, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania urged physicians to lead what he called "'an all-hands-on-deck' moment in the history of healthcare."

Emanuel and co-author Andrew Steinmetz suggested six ways in which healthcare must be transformed in order for reform to take effect: more cost consciousness in medical decisions; increased emphasis on keeping patients healthy; increased team-based care; organized and coordinated systems; process standardization; and greater price and quality transparency.

"Ultimately, what this survey tells us is that physicians acknowledge that healthcare costs are an issue, but they are not yet willing to accept primary responsibility and take definitive action to lead change," Emanuel said in a statement.

"The rejection of transformative, bold solutions to address the seriousness of the cost problem is indicative of much bigger problems ahead of we don't start seeing more leadership from the physician community."

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