Average Overall Expense for Office-Based Doctor's Visit $228, With Range Across Specialty Types, AHRQ Brief Finds

Issue 499
AHRQ's Electronic Newsletter summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.
December 22, 2015

AHRQ Stats: Hospital Admissions for Diabetes

Hospital admissions were cut in half from 2001 to 2012 for rural county residents treated for uncontrolled diabetes without complications. The admission rate fell from 42 per 100,000 people in 2001 to 21 per 100,000 in 2012. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, Chartbook on Rural Health Care.)

Today's Headlines

  1. Average Overall Expense for Office-Based Doctor's Visit $228, With Range Across Specialty Types, AHRQ Brief Finds.
  2. New Data Available on Hospital Inpatient Stays, Use of Medicaid, Emergency Departments.
  3. Register Now: Training Sessions on Shared Decision-Making.
  4. AHRQ Offers Continuing Education Opportunities in Patient Safety, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.
  5. New Research and Evidence From AHRQ.
  6. Health Information Technology Safety Framework Needed To Measure, Improve Patient Safety—BMJ Quality and Safety Commentary.
  7. Featured Case Study: AHRQ-Funded Health Literacy Tool Improves Care for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients in Spain.
  8. AHRQ in the Professional Literature.

1. Average Overall Expense for Office-Based Doctor's Visit $228, With Range Across Specialty Types, AHRQ Brief Finds

The average overall expense for an office-based physician visit in 2013 was $228, a recently published AHRQ Statistical Brief found. Average expenses—a measure that combines payments made by all sources (primarily insurers and patients)—ranged from $143 to $310 across specialty types analyzed. Researchers used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to analyze variations across selected office-based physician specialty types. They found that out-of-pocket payments were made for slightly fewer than half of all office-based physician visits; however, the proportion of visits with some out-of-pocket payments varied across specialty types from 39 percent (for pediatricians) to 61 percent (for dermatologists). The overall average out-of-pocket payment for an office-based visit was $29, with a range across specialty types from $14 to $48. MEPS is unique in its depth of detailed information on the health care services used by Americans and their associated expenditures. Read the statistical brief.

2. New Data Available on Hospital Inpatient Stays, Use of Medicaid, Emergency Departments

AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) has expanded its data resources:

  • HCUP Fast Stats, which uses graphs, trend figures or tables to convey complex health care information, now provides information on "National Hospital Utilization and Costs." The information focuses on national statistics on inpatient stays, including trends, most common diagnoses and most common operations.
  • HCUP Fast Stats also offers new quarterly and annual inpatient data on the "Effect of Medicaid Expansion on Hospital Use." The update includes new data for both 2014 and 2015.
  • HCUP has released the 2013 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS). The NEDS is the largest all-payer emergency department (ED) database in the United States and enables analyses of ED utilization patterns to support understanding and decision-making regarding this critical source of health care.

3. Register Now: Training Sessions on Shared Decision-Making

Registration is open for enrollment in AHRQ’s SHARE Approach training, a five-step process aimed at increasing the use of evidence in shared decision-making between health care providers and patients. Participants in the one-day, train-the-trainer workshops learn strategies to compare the benefits, harms, and risks of treatment options through meaningful dialogue about what matters most to patients. Workshop participants are eligible to receive continuing medical education/continuing education credits. New training locations and dates for 2016:

  • Galveston, Texas – January 27.
  • Seattle, Washington – February 2.
  • Seattle/Tacoma, Washington – February 4.
  • Mineola, New York (Long Island) – March 7.
  • Charlotte, North Carolina – March 29.
  • Savannah, Georgia – March 31.
  • Orlando, Florida – April 22.
  • Fairfield, California – June 1.

4. AHRQ Offers Continuing Education Opportunities in Patient Safety, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

AHRQ offers continuing education (CE) and continuing medical education (CME) videos and articles on a range of health care topics including patient safety and patient-centered outcomes research findings. The CE/CME activities summarize reviews of evidence on the effectiveness and safety of treatments and strategies for improving patient care. Some of the available topics include:

  • Preventing falls in facilities.
  • Preventing pressure ulcers.
  • Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS®).
  • Improving patient safety in long term care facilities.
  • Medication reconciliation as a patient safety practice.

These resources, available at no cost, provide health care providers with skills and information to support individual decision-making and patient management.

5. New Research and Evidence From AHRQ

6. Health Information Technology Safety Framework Needed To Measure, Improve Patient Safety—BMJ Quality and Safety Commentary

The proliferation of health information technology (IT) has created new safety concerns and the potential for unintended consequences. In light of these concerns, a new commentary by AHRQ-funded researchers proposes the creation of a health IT safety (HITS) framework to provide a foundation for patient safety measurement, monitoring and improvement. This foundation is needed, authors stated, to refine the science of measuring health IT-related patient safety, make health IT-related patient safety an organizational priority by securing commitment from organizational leadership, and develop an environment conducive to detecting, fixing and learning from system vulnerabilities. The HITS measurement framework follows continuous quality improvement and sociotechnical approaches. It calls for new measurement strategies to address safety concerns in three related domains: (1) concerns unique and specific to technology; (2) concerns created by the failure to use health IT appropriately or by misuse of health IT; and (3) the use of health IT to monitor risks, health care processes and outcomes and to identify potential safety concerns before they can harm patients. The commentary, "Measuring and Improving Patient Safety Through Health Information Technology: The Health IT Safety Framework," appeared in the September issue of BMJ Quality and Safety.

7. Featured Case Study: AHRQ-Funded Health Literacy Tool Improves Care for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients in Spain

Grupo Saned, a health care and pharmaceutical marketing company in Barcelona, Spain, used an AHRQ-funded health literacy scale—Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Spanish-speaking Adults—to study the capacity of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to obtain and understand information to make appropriate health decisions. The Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery is using study results to develop strategies to improve health literacy, including more patient training and dissemination of information to scientific societies. Read the case study.

8. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Inpatient admissions from the ED for adults with injuries: the role of clinical and nonclinical factors. Spector WD, Limcangco R, Mutter RL, et al. Am J Emerg Med 2015 Jun;33(6):764-9. Epub 2015 Mar 7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

A multimodal intervention improves postanesthesia care unit handovers. Weinger MB, Slagle JM, Kuntz AH, et al. Anesth Analg 2015 Oct;121(4):957-71. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Graphical display of diagnostic test results in electronic health records: a comparison of 8 systems. Sittig DF, Murphy DR, Smith MW, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2015 Jul;22(4):900-4. Epub 2015 Mar 18. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

The clinical course of pain and function in older adults with a new primary care visit for back pain. Rundell SD, Sherman KJ, Heagerty PJ, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc 2015 Mar;63(3):524-30. Epub 2015 Mar 6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Fall detection in homes of older adults using the Microsoft Kinect. Stone EE, Skubic M. IEEE J Biomed Health Inform 2015 Jan;19(1):290-301. Epub 2014 Mar 17. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

TeamSTEPPS implementation in community hospitals: adherence to recommended training approaches. Ward MM, Zhu X, Lampman M, et al. Int J Health Care Qual Assur 2015;28(3):234-44. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

The use of technology for urgent clinician to clinician communications: a systematic review of the literature. Nguyen C, McElroy LM, Abecassis MM, et al. Int J Med Inform 2015 Feb;84(2):101-10. Epub 2014 Nov 15. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

The relationship between pretreatment dietary composition and weight loss during a randomised trial of different diet approaches. McVay MA, Jeffreys AS, King HA, et al. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015 Feb;28 Suppl 2:16-23. Epub 2013 Nov 20. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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Page last reviewed December 2015
Page originally created December 2015
Internet Citation: Average Overall Expense for Office-Based Doctor's Visit $228, With Range Across Specialty Types, AHRQ Brief Finds. Content last reviewed December 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/499.html