The results were published this month in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
"What we are trying to do is promote value amongst our clinicians. We are not trying to cut back on needed healthcare, but we provide so much care to patients that [some] is actually not needed," Sequist says. "At the same time much of the care that is needed isn't getting provided for them. What we are really trying to do is have our doctors look through this lens of value."
Among 27 laboratory tests examined in the study, interventional physicians demonstrated a significant decrease in ordering rates compared to control physicians for five tests. This included a significant relative decrease in ordering rates for four of 21 lower cost laboratory tests and one of six higher cost laboratory tests. A majority of physicians reported that the intervention improved their knowledge of the relative costs of laboratory tests.
"What our survey showed is that most doctors are really interested and willing and engaged in the idea of how much things cost as part of an overall value equation for the care we are delivering, but they have no idea how much things cost and how they would start to bring those things into the decision-making process," Sequist said.