Such findings might provoke pushback from physicians, Timbie acknowledged. He says, however, that they shouldn't shoulder all the blame for not doing what's in the best interest of their patients.
"We can't let patients off the hook because patients usually want the latest technology, and they don't want to hear that their physician might choose a more conservative approach."
He emphasizes that "it's not as if the providers are solely at fault. There [are] just numerous factors in play, all pushing in the same direction toward aggressive treatment of these conditions...And [there are] few incentives to choose the more cost-effective treatment."
The RAND researchers say they hope that accountable care organization and bundled payment models may stimulate greater use of evidence in clinical choices as those programs role out in the years to come.