Physicians with the least experience spend significantly more money treating patients than physicians who have more experience, according to the RAND Corp.
The findings, published in the November edition of the journal Health Affair, revealed that physicians who had less than 10 years of experience had 13.2 percent higher overall costs than physicians with 40 or more years of experience. Additionally, physicians with 10 to 19 years of experience had cost profiles that were 10 percent higher, those with 20 to 29 years of experience were 6.5 percent higher and those with 30 to 39 years of experience were 2.5 percent higher.
Researchers are cautious about the findings because the use of cost profiles is relatively new and tools are still being developed.
Researchers say there are a number of factors that may explain the findings. Recently trained physicians may be more familiar with and more likely to use new, expensive treatment modalities than older physicians. In addition, it is possible that newer physicians’ lack of experience translates into more-aggressive medical care.
No association was found between costs and other characteristics such as whether a physician was board certified or the size of the medical practice where a physician worked.