Howard B. Beckman
H. B. Beckman, "Lost in Translation: Physicians' Struggle with Cost-Reduction Programs," Annals of Internal Medicine, March 15, 2011 154(6):430–33.
Relationships among health plans, the business community, and physicians are often strained—particularly when it comes to discussions about redesigning health care delivery. Fears of reduced income and limits on personal autonomy often lead the medical community to resist reforms proposed by payers or health plans. In this article, the author identifies another, largely unrecognized, factor: the lack of a common language that engages each group.
In industry meetings, the author observed physicians withdrawing from cost-control conversations because of business language that evoked distrust and anger. As payers describe the need for reducing health care costs, physicians may hear an indiscriminate call for reducing services and the prioritization of dollars over patients. Focusing instead on identifying overuse and underuse of services can raise practitioners' comfort level, the author says.
Based on his observations, the author recommends the following steps for broaching the subject of cost reductions: