Health Affairs reported this week something most of us sort of “knew”; the more experience a physician has, the lower their patients’ health care costs are.
Here’s the money quote:
“…physicians with fewer than ten years of experience had 13.2 percent higher overall costs than physicians with forty or more years of experience. [emphasis added] We found no association between costs and other physician characteristics, such as having had malpractice claims or disciplinary actions, board certification status, and the size of the group in which the physician practices.”
CWCI performed an analysis ten years ago [Does Practice Make Perfect?] that looked at the volume of workers comp cases handled by physicians over an eight year period. Alex Swedlow and Laura Gardner MD’s research clearly showed a strong correlation between experience and outcomes. The more workers’ comp patients a doc had, the lower the litigation rate, disability duration, indemnity and medical expense; pretty much every indicator was better. While the two studies aren’t directly comparable, the overarching lesson is the same:
The more experience a provider has, the better the outcomes are.
Of course, this is a generalization; there are older docs who are quite costly, and younger docs with terrific outcomes. That said, if you’re looking to identify providers associated with better outcomes, those of us with grey hair (or little hair) may be a good place to start.
And yes, the older I get, the more accurate I find this correlation!