Oncologists and Cost Issues

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The question has now come up as to whether oncologists are responsible just for the care of their individual patient or whether they are stewards of a scarce resource. Although there has, historically, been a little bit of a debate about that, there’s clearly been a sea change in terms of the feeling that oncologists need to think about this.

It’s not bad. If you keep a household budget, you do it in your life every single day. You need to think about the perspective of your patient, because your recommendations and decisions have a very concrete impact on the bottom line for your patient.

In fact, the problem is that this was politicized around rationing care, and that’s not really what this is about. This is about recognizing that there are things that are roughly equal in terms of efficacy, but not equal in terms of cost, and just helping patients, in a shared decision model, make a good choice for how they want to spend their healthcare dollar.