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Physicians and the cost of hospital care

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This article in the Annals of Surgery asserts that:

“Few physicians can influence hospital overhead. Worse, most physicians lack a quick and reliable means to assess how their hospital accounting systems allocate specific costs to individual patients. To be successful, physicians must be given ready access to enhanced information systems, increased education, and more sophisticated economic data to make optimal decisions regarding appropriate practice modifications. Along with enhanced information, the physician of tomorrow will require the colocation of this information and appropriate decision rights.

”Understanding all the subtleties and nuances of a hospital’s complex accounting system is likely not worth the investment of time it would take to master it. However, a basic understanding of the cost structure and cost allocations is imperative for long-term physician survival. This understanding can be enhanced by working more closely with the hospital finance department and operations officers. Although they are seemingly odd bed-fellows for surgeons, these administrative personnel are part of the ever-evolving multidisciplinary trauma team.”

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