• Cost considerations in medical societies’ guidelines

    By Jennifer Schwartz and Steven Pearson in JAMA Internal Medicine:

    Methodological statements for clinical guidance documents indicated that 17 of 30 physician societies (57%) explicitly integrated costs, 4 (13%) implicitly considered costs, 3 (10%) intentionally excluded costs, and 6 (20%) made no mention. Of the 17 societies that explicitly integrated costs, 9 (53%) consistently used a formal system in which the strength of recommendation was influenced in part by costs, whereas 8 (47%) were inconsistent in their approach or failed to mention the exact mechanism for considering costs. Among the 138 specific recommendations in these guidance documents that included cost as part of the rationale, the most common form of recommendation (50 [36%]) encouraged the use of a specific medical service because of equal effectiveness and lower cost.

    I would not have guessed cost was so commonly considered in clinical guidelines. On the other hand, I don’t read a lot of clinical guidelines.


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