Bain & Company, the global management consulting company best known for Mitt Romney r recently put out a publication called “The new cost-conscious doctor: Changing America’s healthcare landscape” in which they point to the shift in attitudes of physicians in regards to multiple issues such ‘managing costs, drug and device usage, and standardized care are transforming healthcare business models.’
They surveyed 500 physicians and came away with the solid impression that physicians are ready to change and adjust their practice patterns due to economic conditions which prevail currently. Importantly, 80% believe that it is our responsibility to help in cost control, 50% state that their threshold of trying new products is higher and 75% of the cost conscious physicians think that care should be standardized. More of us now apply clinical guidelines.
Fewer physicians will have a major saying purchasing new products, devices or the pharmaceuticals in the formulary. The question is how will we adjust to speaking out for the patient when cost has to be balanced against the patient’s best interest, especially when the paycheck is coming from the hospital? Indeed, 40 % of surveyed physicians expressed concern about exactly that issue and felt that in two years, 50% of their patients might not get the best care due to cost cutting!
Ethical conundrums will crop up, consciences will be troubled and patients may wonder where Dr.Marcus Welby is! (Younger readers need to google Dr. Welby, the perfect TV family physician known for his kindness and home visits)