Original Research

Cost awareness of radiological studies among doctors at Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa

Khanyisa N. Mrwetyana, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Gina Joubert
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 25, No 1 | a2188 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v25i1.2188 | © 2021 Khanyisa N. Mrwetyana, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Gina Joubert | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 May 2021 | Published: 20 September 2021

About the author(s)

Khanyisa N. Mrwetyana, Department of Clinical Imaging Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Department of Clinical Imaging Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Gina Joubert, Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: South Africa has high healthcare expenses. Improving cost-consciousness could decrease government expenditure on healthcare.

Objectives: To determine cost awareness of radiological studies among doctors at a tertiary hospital. The objective was met by assessing the accuracy of cost estimation according to the level of training and speciality, whether participants had received prior education/training related to cost awareness and if they had a desire to learn more about the cost of radiological imaging.

Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in six clinical departments at Universitas Academic Hospital using an anonymous questionnaire that determined doctors’ cost awareness of five radiological studies. Each radiological study was answered using six different cost ranges, with one correct option. Costs were based on the Department of Health’s 2019 Uniform Patients Fee Schedule (UPFS).

Results: In total, 131 (67.2%) of 195 questionnaires distributed to registrars and consultants were returned. Overall, low accuracy of cost estimation was observed, with 45.2% of the participants choosing only incorrect options. No participant estimated all five costs correctly. Only the Internal Medicine clinicians demonstrated a significant difference between registrars and consultants for the number of correct answers (median 0 and 1, respectively) (p = 0.04). No significant differences were found between specialities stratified by registrars/consultants. Most participants (88.6%) would like to learn about imaging costs. Only 2.3% of the participants had received prior education/training related to cost awareness of radiological studies.

Conclusion: Doctors were consistently inaccurate in estimating the cost of radiological studies. Educating doctors about the cost of radiological imaging could have a positive effect on healthcare expenditure.


Keywords

cost awareness; radiological studies; imaging; estimation; accuracy

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