Extended doctors’ office hours are linked to a ten percent dip in healthcare costs for patients, according to an annual government survey.
According to Reuters, patients whose doctors offered weekend or evening hours, which accounted for 36 percent of the 30,700 surveyed, spent roughly $3,800-$4,000 each year on all medical care, compared with $5,200 to $5,500 for those whose doctors did not have extended hours.
Exact reasons for the correlation are unknown, but lead researcher Dr. Jerant of the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento believes that practices like extended office hours may indicate a doctor’s overall cost-conscious approach.
The findings, reported in the Annals of Family Medicine, took factors like age, race, existing conditions, and healthcare coverage into account. The dipping numbers remained the same, but researchers are still hesitant to claim that the extended hours themselves are to thank for lower costs.