This Month's News
Teaching tomorrow's physicians about cost control, health care stewardship
"Bending the cost curve" in health care spending has been a common theme over the last several years, with nearly 18% of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) going toward health care expenses in 2011, according to the World Health Organization.
A recent slowdown in spending may only be temporary and the result of the economic downturn, or could be related to structural changes in health care delivery, writes Gail Wilensky, PhD, in the JAMA Forum. Still, as a recent New York Times' article describes, the United States remains the world leader in health expenditures, with a $2.7 trillion annual health care bill.
Many believe that medical students and resident/fellow physicians need better exposure to issues around the cost of health care and wise stewardship of limited health care resources. One medical student blogger writes that the physician's role in cost containment is "absent" during training. Another recent commentary calls this gap "a gross failure in medical education." Its author cites a Health Affairs study that found that recent medical school graduates spend more money in caring for patients than their more experienced colleagues.
A new continuing medical educational (CME) activity from the AMA seeks to address this gap. The activity examines an AMA Code of Medical Ethics' policy "Physician stewardship of health care resources." Adopted as part of the Code in November 2012, this policy offers guidance for physicians to fulfill two long-recognized obligations: protecting and promoting the health of the community and addressing the needs of individual patients.
This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Registration is free for AMA members and $20 for nonmembers. If you're not an AMA member, join today to take advantage of these activities and other resources available exclusively to AMA members.
For more reading on health care costs and stewardship, also see: