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Displaying Prices to Providers Seems to Reduce Order Costs

Review shows price display decreases aggregate order costs more frequently than order volume

MONDAY, Nov. 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Displaying order prices to physicians seems to reduce order costs, according to a review published online Oct. 23 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Mark T. Silvestri, M.D., from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the impact of displaying order prices to physicians on patterns of care. Data were included from 19 studies (five randomized trials, 13 pre-post intervention studies, and one time series analysis) that assessed the impact of showing numeric prices of laboratory tests, imaging studies, or medications to providers in real time during the ordering process.

The researchers found that 10 of the 15 studies that reported the quantitative impact of price display on aggregate order costs or volume demonstrated a significant decrease in the intervention group. Price display more often decreased aggregate order costs than order volume (nine of 13 studies versus three of eight studies, respectively). Five studies examined patient safety, which was not affected by price display. Evidence was limited but suggested that provider acceptability tended to be positive.

“Provider price display likely reduces order costs to a modest degree,” the authors write. “More high-quality evidence is needed to confirm these findings within a modern context.”

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