Physician Experience and Attitudes Toward Addressing the Cost of Cancer Care.
PURPOSE: We surveyed US cancer doctors to examine current attitudes toward cost discussions and how they influence decision making and practice management. METHODS: We conducted a self-administered, anonymous, electronic survey of randomly selected physician ASCO members to evaluate the frequency and nature of cost discussions reported by physicians, attitudes toward discussions of cost in clinics, and potential barriers. RESULTS: A total of 333 of 2,290 physicians responded (response rate [RR], 15%; adjusted RR after omitting nonpracticing physician ASCO members, 25%), Respondent practice settings were 45% academic and 55% community/private practice. Overall, 60% reported addressing costs frequently/always in clinic, whereas 40% addressed costs rarely/never. The largest reported barrier was lack of resources to guide discussions. Those who reported frequent discussions were significantly more likely to prioritize treatments in terms of cost and believed doctors should explain patient and societal costs. A total of 36%did not believe that doctors should discuss costs with patients. Academic practitioners were significantly less likely to discuss costs (odds ratio [OR], 0.41; P = .001) and felt less prepared for such discussions (OR, 0.492; P = .005) but were more likely to consider costs to the patient (OR, 2.68; P = .02) and society (OR, 1.822; P = .02). CONCLUSION: Although the majority of respondents believe it is important to consider out-of-pocket costs to patients, a substantial proportion do not discuss or consider costs of cancer care. Lack of consensus on the importance of such discussions and uncertainty regarding the optimal timing and content appear to be barriers to addressing costs of care with patients.
Altomare, I; Irwin, B; Zafar, SY; Houck, K; Maloney, B; Greenup, R; Peppercorn, J
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