Posted:February 16, 2012

Costs of Care, a nonprofit that helps caregivers deflate medical bills and provide high value care, is launching a multiyear project aimed at teaching clinicians core principles of cost-conscious care delivery.

BOSTON, MA—Patients and their caregivers are uniquely positioned to recognize inefficiency in the health care system but are seldom empowered with information they need to reduce harmful spending.

“‘Do no harm’ is one of the first principles of patient care and as a result, most clinicians are taught a basic framework to consider patient safety. Unfortunately, in an era when many patients are saddled with increasingly expensive medical bills and insurance premiums, no similar framework exists when it comes to considering issues of cost and value,” said Dr. Neel Shah, Executive Director of Costs of Care.

A new project, entitled “Teaching Value” comes on the heels of several other high profile initiatives to improve the value of bedside care delivery, including the ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign, and the American College of Physicians' High-Value, Cost-Conscious Care Initiative.

Funded with a grant from the ABIM Foundation, Costs of Care has partnered with medical educators at Harvard Medical School and the University of Chicago to create a series of web-based videos and accompanying didactic curricula that will initially engage trainees in graduate medical education programs. These videos will use clinical vignettes to illustrate core principles of cost-consideration, including how to communicate with patients about avoiding unnecessary care and reducing overused or misused tests and procedures.

As part of the Teaching Value project launch, Costs of Care released a new teaser video called "What if Your Hotel Bill Was Like a Hospital Bill?”. The video is a tongue-in-cheek depiction of the challenges patients face in deciphering medical expenses, and their additional confusion when they learn doctors are not trained to consider costs.

Dr. Vineet Arora, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, is helping co-author the Teaching Value scripts. “How can we expect others to understand if we are not even teaching those in medical training about costs of care?” she asked.

The full length training videos in the Teaching Value series are targeted for release beginning this summer and will focus on training both practicing physicians and residents in teaching hospitals, as well as students during third-year internal medicine clerkships. The trainings are formatted so they can be adopted into an existing faculty CME conference or resident education.

More information about Costs of Care and the Teaching Value Project can be found at www.costsofcare.org.