Physician group wants treatment costs considered

The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends its membership take cost-effectiveness into account when planning treatment for their patients, reports National Public Radio's Shots blog.

The tack taken by the ACP, the nation's second largest trade group for physicians, could have a profound effect on how medicine is practiced by doctors in the hospital setting, ultimately impacting cost.

The recommendation, which appears in the latest version of the organization's ethics manual, takes note of the current gap between the cost of care and its overall effectiveness.

"The cost of healthcare in the United States is twice that of any other industrialized countries and we are not providing care to as many people as they do in other places, and we don't even have as good outcomes," said ACP President Virginia Hood. "So given that, we really have to look at ways of doing things better."

The ethics manual includes the following text: "In making recommendations to patients, designing practice guidelines and formularies, and making decisions on medical benefits review boards, physicians considered judgments should reflect the best available evidence in the biomedical literature, including data on the cost-effectiveness of different clinical approaches."

To learn more:
- read the NPR Shots blog post
- read the new ACP ethics manual