At what cost? A descriptive study evaluating cost awareness of laboratory investigations in doctors working in district hospitals in the West Coast and Cape Winelands districts
Thesis (MFamMed)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Globally the cost of health care is steadily increasing, and in South Africa it is no different. The budget for health care in the 2018 / 2019 financial year is R205 billion and is expected to increase by 7.8%. International research has found cost awareness amongst doctors to be poor and there is limited research in the South Africa. Improving cost awareness amongst clinicians has shown to have a cost saving effect. Aim: To evaluate cost awareness of laboratory investigations among doctors working in district hospitals in the West Coast and Cape Winelands Districts. Setting: Nine district hospitals within the West Coast and Cape Winelands Districts. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study in the form of a questionnaire was used. This questionnaire was adapted from previous international research. Results: A response rate of ninety percent was obtained. Doctors accurately estimated cost in 23.53% (95% CI 21.09 – 25.97) of thirty commonly requested investigations. Age, gender, years of experience, position held, and district of practice had no significant impact on cost awareness. On a scale of ten, doctors rated their cost awareness as 5.48, previous training 3.00, access to information on cost as 4.88, cost influencing their decision making as 6.73 and increasing cost awareness would change their ordering as 7.58. Conclusion: Cost awareness was found to be poor amongst doctors working in the West Coast and Cape Winelands and was uninfluenced by their demographic factors. Doctors acknowledged this, however, and reported that they had received minimal cost awareness training and that they had limited access to information about cost.
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