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Provider Spending Habits That Impact High Hospital Bills – New Data Shows Spending Disparities Within Subspecialties

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Amidst various initiatives to make healthcare bills less mystifying, educating providers on their spending habits may have a positive impact. A major factor contributing to the cost of care is what type of spender a patient’s provider is, according to new data released by IllumiCare, a point-of-care technology vendor.

IllumiCare’s research found thousands of dollars in disparities among providers of the same specialties taking care of the same type of patients, both across different hospitals and within the same hospital. The variations stem from costs providers make judgement calls about — such as ordering medications, lab tests and radiological exams. The report data comes from dozens of acute care hospitals across the country. IllumiCare collected data about the wholesale cost of every order for a medication, lab, and radiology test, who ordered it (by provider/type) and the patient’s acuity.

Previous research in the Journal of American Medical Association was limited to hospitalists and internal medicine providers. It found that health care spending varies even more across individual physicians within the same hospital than it varies across different hospitals. IllumiCare’s analysis covered all subspecialties and sheds new light on cost variation in more targeted specialties such as cardiology and pulmonology.

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