Stop the Presses! Patient-Centered Care Lowers Costs

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

First posted 7/20/11 on Health Populi

Patients who perceive their visit to the doctor was patient-centered, with more communication, receive fewer diagnostic tests and referrals, and yield lower expenses for diagnostic testing. A new study finds that patient-centered care leads to lower spending on health care over one year of care due to fewer specialty care referrals. A contributing factor to lower costs is increased patient participation during the visit, which reduces patients’ anxiety and perceived need for further investigations and referrals. In the milieu of more effective patient-physician communication, physician gets more knowledge about the patient. This brings greater trust between patient and doctor, as described in Patient-Centered Care is Associated with Decreased Health Care Utilization, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine published in July 2011, and penned by Dr. Klea Bertaks and Dr. Rahman Azari.

This is not a new concept: ten years ago, the IOM’s seminal report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, called for “patient-centeredness.”

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The Urgent Science of Chronic Medical Conditions: An Introduction

As I was developing this site, I mentioned it to my good friend Bill Bestermann. Dr. Bestermann is a very progressive, leading edge and nationally recognized vascular physician. When you talk with Bill, it’s very clear that it really is all about the quality of the care. After he’d chewed on the idea of the site, he called with a suggestion. “You could have a section called ‘Urgent Science’ that clearly describes for clinicians the science behind modern management of chronic conditions. We could develop a straightforward resource that shows what actually works and why, so it can be easily translated into clinical practice.”

That seemed like a great idea. What follows is Dr. Bestermann’s explanation of how it can work, followed by an article he wrote almost two years ago called “The New Science of Vascular Disease.”

We are very proud to offer this approach, and hope that interested physicians with deep knowledge of a particular discipline will send us review articles that can be candidates for this service.

Brian Klepper


The science and systems exist today to dramatically improve care and reduce costs. Despite multiple recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and others credible professional groups, our system remains focused on the care of acute episodes and our approach to chronic diseases is largely ineffective.  We spend nearly one dollar out of five on health care and the rate of increase continues to be a multiple of inflation.  Most of the increased spending over the last two decades is related to patients with four or more chronic conditions. We have still done very little to improve the effectiveness of that spending and to improve the health of our friends, neighbors, and families.  Education and exhortation have not worked. It is time to get serious about new science, new organizational structures, and new systems.

Continue reading “The Urgent Science of Chronic Medical Conditions: An Introduction”