News Headlines Article

Knowing prices of surgical options influences choice
San Francisco Chronicle

In the U.S. health care system, patients rarely know how much they’ll be charged for surgeries or hospital stays before they get the bill. But a new study from the University of Utah reveals that when patients and their families do get pricing information beforehand, they’re likely to make cost-conscious decisions about equal, but different treatments, even if the one they choose is not the doctor’s first choice.

Doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah treated 100 children who needed their appendix removed.  Their parents were offered a choice between traditional open surgery or a laparoscopic procedure. Both types of surgery are considered equally safe and require similar amounts of time in the hospital, but doctors often prefer laparoscopies because they leave smaller scars and, in some cases, reduce the chance of infection.