Patients' grasp of treatment choices and the confidence with which they manage their health and medical care may influence healthcare spending, a newly published study said.
Patients with the highest scores on a self-reported survey of “knowledge, skills and confidence” to make healthy choices and informed medical decisions were less costly than those with the lowest scores, based on projected spending for roughly 33,610 patients in 2010, researchers wrote in the latest issue of the Health Affairs.
The study used medical bills and answers from primary-care patients surveyed by Fairview Health Services in 2010, which began that year to survey patient attitudes on health and care management. Patients were asked if they understood their medications, treatment options and the “nature and causes” of their diagnosis. Other questions gauged patients' confidence managing their health and medical care, such as “I am confident I can tell my healthcare provider concerns I have even when he or she does not ask.”