OBJECTIVE: To examine a potential relationship between training environment and physician views about cost consciousness.
PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of US physicians who responded to the Physicians, Health Care Costs, and Society survey conducted between May 30, 2012, and September 30, 2012, for whom information was available about the care intensity environment of their residency training hospital. The exposure of interest was a measure of the health care utilization environment during residency from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care Hospital Care Intensity (HCI) index of primary training hospitals. The main outcome measure was agreement with an 11-point cost-consciousness scale. The generalized estimating equations method was used to measure the association between exposure and outcome.
RESULTS: Of the 2556 physicians who responded to the survey, 2424 had a valid HCI index (95%), representing 649 residency programs. The mean ± SD cost-consciousness score among physicians trained at hospitals in the lowest quartile of care intensity (31.8±5.0) was higher than that for physicians trained at hospitals in the top quartile of care intensity (30.7±5.1; P<.001). Adjusting for other physician and practice characteristics, a population of physicians trained in hospitals with a 1.0-point higher HCI index would score approximately 0.83 points lower on the cost-consciousness scale (beta coefficient = -0.83; 95% CI, -1.60 to -0.05; P=.04).
CONCLUSION: The intensity of the health care utilization environment during training may play a role in shaping physician cost consciousness later in their careers.
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