Doctors telling all
Should physicians reveal how they are paid? A new study suggests disclosing this information increases trust:
Disclosing how physicians are compensated may increase patient loyalty, and does not appear to undermine patients' trust in their doctors, a new study shows.Sounds good, and I agree that patients should have access to the information.
"This study suggests that regulators, policy makers, and physician groups themselves should renew their consideration of disclosure as an instrument to advance the best interests of patients and physicians," Dr. Steven D. Pearson of Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues conclude.
An important caveat is that all the doctors in the study were paid by a combination of salary and bonus with the bonus based on a rather nebulous formula, so these doctors weren't conflicted in giving impartial advice. Patients who learned their surgeon derived 80% of income from operating might be less trusting of his or her advice to undergo an operation; of course, in the global scheme that is probably a good thing.