In a new NEJM Catalyst Buzz Survey, the question of who is the biggest driver of high healthcare costs brings physicians, healthplans, pharmacuetical & bio-tech companies under scrutiny. Doctors who have been blamed for the inflated cost of US healthcare due to expensive recommendations or overtreating patients have maintained that even though the discussion needs to be had with patients about healthcare costs, they have no power to determine the price of a drug or new healthcare technology. Physicians may care and feel responsible for the cost of care to a patient, and even want to be able to influence costs, but feel they are not accountable for those costs and should not be penalized for the actual cost of care.
According to the report, surveyed members of the NEJM Catalyst Insights Council, which includes clinicians, clinical leaders and healthcare executives overwhelming agreed that pharmaceutical/biotech companies have the biggest impact on the cost of healthcare (87%), followed by health plans/HMOs/insurers (81%) and hospitals/health systems/physician organizations (75%). Only 28% pointed the finger at individual clinicians and even fewer blamed employers (26%) and patients (23%). According to news reports, many are expecting that the increase of uninsured Americans will drive prices up further in the coming years.
In the survey, about three-quarters of the participants also found hospitals, health systems, and physician organizations as having the greatest impact on healthcare costs. Read more of the report HERE.