The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education mandates pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) fellowships to in- corporate medical care cost teaching into the curriculum; however, there are no studies evaluating cost awareness of PEM fellows. Our objectives were to evaluate cost education during fellowship and assess fellows’ knowledge and attitudes regarding costs.
Methods: We conducted an anonymous electronic survey of US PEM fellows in April-June 2009.
Results: We received 161 (63%) of 253 responses. Respondents represented all 3 years of training and all regions of the United States. Asked if the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires cost education, 35% responded no, and 44% were uncertain. More than 80% of fellows reported no formal cost education. More than 65% believed physicians should receive cost education during fellow- ship, and 75% felt the current amount of education is insufficient.
Pediatric emergency medicine fellows showed low accuracy and considerable variability when estimating costs of tests and medications. Median fellows’ estimate for a complete blood count was $50 (inter- quartile range, $55), where actual cost is $32. Only 23% were within 25% of the true cost. Similarly, the proportions of fellows estimating within 25% of actual cost were small for electrolytes (10%), blood culture (12%), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (22%). The same held true for the following medications: trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (28%), Cef- dinir (31%), and cefixime (10%). Ability to predict costs did not improve with year of training.
Conclusions: Pediatric emergency medicine fellows report little formal teaching on cost issues, and their ability to estimate costs is poor. However, they are receptive to more education on this important issue
June A. Lee, MD,* Lauren Chernick, MD, Rasha Sawaya, MD, Cindy Ganis Roskind, MD, and Martin Pusic, MD, MA