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US physician practices spend 4 times Canadian practices
Date:8/4/2011

on per year," says senior author Dr. Lawrence Casalino, chief of the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research in the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"Many factors contribute to the high cost of health care in the United States, but there is broad consensus that administrative costs are high and could be reduced,"

Dr. Casalino continues. "Short of adopting a single-payer system, reducing these costs can be achieved by realizing efficiencies, such as by adopting standardized rules for transactions between physicians and health plans and communicating through electronic systems."

The authors provide several specific recommendations, including standardizing transactions as much as possible and conducting them electronically rather than by mail, fax and phone. These measures would not only reduce costs but would also reduce the so-called "hassle factor" of physician and staff interruptions for phone calls that interfere with patient care, say the authors. In addition, the authors cite Affordable Care Act changes such as bundled payments, and the creation of accountable care organizations as potentially decreasing administrative burdens over the long term.

Additional findings from the study, "U.S. Physician Practices Spend Nearly Four Times as Much Money Interacting With Health Plans and Payers Than Do Their Canadian Counterparts":

  • On average, U.S. doctors spent 3.4 hours per week interacting with health plans while doctors in Ontario spent about 2.2 hours. Nurses and medical assistants in the U.S. spend 20.6 hours per physician per week on administrative tasks related to health plans, nearly 10 times the time spent by those in Ontario.

  • U.S. clerical staff spend 53.1 hours per physician per week on administrative tasks related to insurance, compared with 15.9 hours in Ontario. Most of the difference comes from the time U.S. clerical staff spend on billing (45.5 hours) and obtainin
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Contact: John Rodgers
jdr2001@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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