Patients are spending more and more on healthcare, but is it for the right tests and diagnostics? CMS reported that in 2017, individuals paid upwards of $10,000 on average on healthcare expenses alone, yet more than $200 billion is wasted on unnecessary health care tests. The fears surrounding high healthcare costs and unnecessary tests among Americans are a real concern.
The HeartFlow consumer survey found that 42 percent of respondents know that they have a family history of heart disease and another 77 percent admit to worrying about their heart health, yet most (67 percent) have never sought diagnosis or treatment. So, how can we address this issue?
Creating greater awareness of innovations in healthcare as well as fostering rich patient-provider conversations can help. Adoption of everything from artificial intelligence powered technology to wearable devices can help reduce the overall costs to the healthcare system and provide more informed insights to both patients and physicians.
Beyond adoption of technology, here are ways to ease concerns through a more informed patient-driven dialogue:
1. Ask for Test Options to be Explained Clearly and Concisely - Physicians can outline exactly what test options are available to address the issue at hand. That guidance should highlight how the test is conducted, what could be found and the physician’s recommendation on the best option.
2. Request the Costs for Tests - A recent poll found that 40 percent of Americans cite paying for healthcare as more frightening than the illness itself. It’s important to take the extra time to understand what’s covered and what’s not with tests. Your physician or the hospital’s administrators should outline the cost of each test so that you can prepare accordingly.
3. Request Additional Resources - Physicians can point to trusted medical journals or non-profit health organizations for additional insight into test options that can be reviewed at home.
When combining advanced technologies and guided conversations, better trust between a patient and physician can result. In the short term, patients get a better experience, and in the long term, the hope is to help improve outcomes.