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Patients making medical decisions may not produce savings

Jan. 24, 2014 at 10:57 PM   |   Comments

HANOVER, N.H., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Some say if patients are more involved in medical decisions it will lower health costs, but U.S. researchers say the savings are not as great as expected.

Study leader Thom Walsh, Paul James Barr and Rachel Thompson, all post-doctoral fellow at the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science; Elissa Ozanne, associate professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice; Ciaran O'Neill, professor at the School of Business and Economics, National University of Ireland; and Glyn Elwyn, professor at both the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice said a systematic review found the evidence for savings were not as broad or deep as suspected.

The research team reviewed 1,508 citations; seven studies with eight analyses were included in the analysis. Of these seven studies, four analyses predict system-wide savings -- two analyses from the same study.

The review, published in the British Medical Journal, found the predicted savings ranged from $8 to $3,068 per patient.

"Our review tells us the ability for decision support to lead to savings is still undetermined," Walsh said in a statement. "There are many other reasons for the use of decision support. We are concerned the benefits could be lost if promises of savings are unfulfilled."

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