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Avalere Helps NYSHealth Improve Physician-Patient Cost Conversations

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Avalere’s issue brief highlights real-world examples of how cost of care can be woven into physician-patient conversations and how it can improve dialogues.
Please note: This is an archived post. Some of the information and data discussed in this article may be out of date. It is preserved here for historical reference but should not be used as the basis for business decisions. Please see our main Insights section for more recent posts.

As part of the New York State Health Foundation’s (NYSHealth) “Connecting Consumers to Information” initiative, Avalere published an issue brief that highlights the results, successes, and challenges of a year-long project aimed at improving cost-of-care conversations between providers and patients. It also incorporates everyday examples of how cost of care can be woven into physician-patient conversations and how it can improve dialogues.

Through this initiative, the New York Academy of Family Physicians (NYSAFP) and the New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians (NYACP) provided training and resources on cost communication strategies, a priority area identified in previous Avalere and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation research. They also equipped physicians and staff to effectively engage in cost-of-care conversations with their patients, thus supporting a more comprehensive approach to patient care.

Avalere provided counsel, ongoing guidance, and technical assistance to the NYSAFP and NYACP to launch and implement this initiative. Using the NYSAFP and NYACP’s foundation as statewide associations, these organizations each served as a “hub” to facilitate the participation of primary care physicians (PCPs) in this project. In response to patients’ needs, Avalere co-developed an educational resource in English and Spanish with the NYSAFP, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, and NYSHealth to help patients initiate cost-of-care conversations with their PCPs. The goal of this work was for educational resources to be normalized, which will encourage patients to seek additional cost data during their primary care visits.

The NYSAFP and NYACP spearheaded a core set of activities, including:

  • Membership surveys to gain insights from PCP members at the beginning and end of the initiative and guide the development of resources
  • Collaborative and round-table sessions for physicians to share best practices
  • Online and hard-copy resource toolkits, including vetted decision assistance tools for physicians and patients to use in practice
  • Training and education through webinars, social media, and other channels, including workflow and conversations guides, self-assessment questionnaires, and sample workflows

Throughout this initiative, PCPs participated in several collaborative training sessions and had thousands of interactions with their patients about costs of care. The findings from this experience are significant because they illustrate what can actually happen when physicians implement cost-of-care conversations in practice. Ultimately, participating PCPs acknowledged several benefits to having these discussions, which helped to normalize cost-of-care conversations and supported a culture shift among the physician member networks.

You can learn more about our cost-of-care work by checking out these podcasts and insights:

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