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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has taken the revolutionary step of giving primary care providers a one page price list for 56 services they routinely order for patients. Doctors generally have no idea what services cost and many are shocked by the list. Just providing the information has changed ordering habits and challenged the traditional medical practice of doing “everything possible” without regard to cost. Much care is delivered just because the technology is available, not because it is necessary or better than less expensive options. Doctors are becoming more aware of the harm to patients that can come from rising costs. A recent study found that 62% of US personal bankruptcies are due to medical costs. There are growing efforts to inform physicians about prices and resources for patients to compare costs.

Ellen Andrews