Thousands of physicians and patients must make cost vs. value decisions in the clinical context every day. The goal is always the same: to choose a high-value treatment that meets the patient’s goals. To do this, physicians must be able to elicit patient input as well as understand the clinical benefits, side effects, and costs of each treatment option. Building a foundation of cost-related knowledge and tools in medical school allows students to approach their clinical training with an understanding of, and a focus on, high-value treatment decisions.
Students who enroll in medical school are evaluated based on the qualities that are desirable for a health professional. Starting from the UCAT SJT exam to 3 years of GP training program after their course, they are trained vigorously for their position. Certain hospitals may even interview them further after they complete all the training to see if their goals align with those of the hospital. Therefore, clinical training can provide a better insight into how the two parties can benefit from each other.

Unfortunately, medical students today receive very little instruction on these important topics. This is not due to a lack of support, but rather to the challenge of implementation. A 2011 survey found that while leadership at most medical schools favors a stronger focus on cost and value, there is not enough curricular flexibility to incorporate these topics into medical education. Within an already compressed schedule, any attempt to improve education on cost and value detracts other important topics. Successfully incorporating cost and value into pre-clinical medical education requires integrating these concepts within existing curricular components rather than developing additional classes and modules.

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