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A modest proposal: Cost containment and the quality of life

par Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | March 02, 2018
From the March 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

It’s not a conversation that’s easy and like the emerging idea of personalized medicine, these conversations need to be personalized. “The more we know about people both in terms of genetic makeup, but also in terms of their personality, the better chance we’ll have of making the right decision and having the right conversations about their care,” Shar says.

He believes there’s another easy way to reduce costs and it doesn’t require the latest equipment or the newest software. “Improve the ability of health care professionals to explain the options to patients,” he says. “That means both nurses and physicians need better training and education to understand all the options and to explain them in a way the patient, the individual, will understand.”

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Although much of his call for reducing costs sits with improving the physician/patient relationship, he does believe that technology can and will play a huge part in reducing costs – once we get beyond the growing pains of adoption by health care providers. “Technology today provides us with instruments that help us better understand what patient preferences are, we just tend not to use them enough. Technology is also helping us to understand what will work for a particular patient. If we can marry those two things – this is what will work for you and this is how you want to live your life … those two pieces of information together are what we need,” Shar says.

Dr. Albert Shar
Essentially, in Shar’s opinion, the best plan to reduce costs comes down to education. Clinicians who are better educated on options and on the makeup of their individual patients will have a better chance of successful outcomes. Educating both physicians and patients will help to clarify what a successful outcome is case-by-case. And finally, having both parties educated about treatment options, like sequencing medications in order to make use of generics versus patented options for example, might have patients traveling in an economy vehicle rather than a luxury vehicle, but either will get them to their destination.

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