Background: Despite studies demonstrating the effects of out-of-pocket costs on decision-making, the effect of societal cost information on patient decision-making is unknown. Given the considerable societal impact of cost of care for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), providing societal cost data to patients with CTS could affect decision-making and provide a strategy for reducing national health care costs. Therefore, we assessed the following hypotheses: (1) there is no difference in treatment choice (surgery vs no surgery) in a hypothetical case of mild CTS between patients randomized to receive societal cost information compared with those who did not receive this information; (2) there are no factors (eg, sex, experience with a previous diagnosis of CTS, or receiving societal cost information) independently associated with the choice for surgery; and (3) there is no difference in attitudes toward health care costs between patients choosing surgery and those who did not. Methods: In this randomized controlled trial using a hypothetical scenario, we prospectively enrolled 184 new and return patients with a nontraumatic upper extremity diagnosis. We recorded patient demographics, treatment choice in the hypothetical case of mild CTS, and their attitudes toward health care costs. Results: Treatment choice was not affected by receiving societal cost information. None of the demographic or illness factors assessed were independently associated with the choice for surgery. Patients declining surgery felt more strongly that doctors should consider their out-of-pocket costs when making recommendations. Conclusions: Providing societal cost information does not seem to affect decision-making and may not reduce the overall health care costs. For patients with CTS, health policy could nudge toward better resource utilization and finding the best care pathways for nonoperative and invasive treatments.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1558944719873399
View details for PubMedID 31517517