Although 57% of the largest US physician societies explicitly consider costs when creating clinical guidelines, vague cost integration approaches persist in many societies, say authors of a study published electronically ahead of print in May in JAMA Internal Medicine.
For this study, the authors analyzed the publically available methodology statements and clinical guidelines produced by the 30 largest US physician societies between 2008 and 2012. The authors examined "whether costs are considered in clinical guidance development, mechanism of cost consideration, and the way that cost issues were used in support of specific clinical practice recommendations."
Among the 30 societies examined, 17 (57%) explicitly integrated cost considerations, 4 (13%) implicitly considered costs, 3 (10%) intentionally excluded costs, and 6 (20%) did not discuss costs, concluded study authors. Additionally, among the 17 societies that explicitly integrated cost considerations, 8 (47%) did not do so consistently nor did they discuss specific cost consideration mechanisms.
The authors indicated that the findings are significant for health care providers because recommendations for these societies could play a role in the reimbursement policies of organizations such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Last year, APTA hosted a workshop for sections on developing clinical practice guidelines, where both costs of implementing recommendations and cost savings from following the guidelines were discussed. A similar workshop is scheduled for July this year.
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