Empowering patients to consider the cost of care

Healthy Connect CMYKQuick scenario: Imagine you’re a patient and your primary care provider has just suggested a treatment for your chronic condition. What questions do you ask?

Cost, necessity and other plausible options should be explored, said Dr. Jeffrey Selwyn, the medical director of Arizona Connected Care, who will be speaking about the total cost of care in an upcoming community lecture.

The discussion – Controlling YOUR Health Care Costs – takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, at the El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot Road. The session is free, but participants need to register through TMC for Seniors Healthy Living Connections, 324-4345 (call 324-1960 for more information).

Dr. Jeffrey Selwyn

Dr. Jeffrey Selwyn

Patients should feel empowered to ask how a specific procedure or medication will change their plan to manage their health. If having another imaging test, for example, won’t change a treatment plan, it may not be worth additional exposure to radiation from X-rays or CT scans, or the cost. If a round of antibiotics will do nothing to combat viral infections, it likely isn’t worth the risk of encouraging antibiotic-resistant infections through inappropriate prescription usage.

Cost is an important area worth exploring, including whether there are less-expensive alternatives that provide similar quality outcomes. “Medicine is absolutely moving in the direction of more shared decision-making,” Dr. Selwyn said. “Choosing wisely requires having the right information, so it’s important that patients feel comfortable having these conversations with their provider.”


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