Prevalence and nature of cost discussions during clinical appointments in companion animal practice

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Jason CoeBrenda N Bonnett


To determine prevalence and nature of cost discussions between veterinarians and pet owners during clinical appointments in companion animal practice. Cross-sectional descriptive study. 20 veterinarians in companion animal practice in eastern Ontario and 350 clients and their pets. 200 veterinarian-client-patient interactions were randomly selected from all videotaped interactions and analyzed with the Roter interaction analysis system. Additional proficiency codes and blocking functions were developed to capture the prevalence, nature, and context of cost discussions. 58 of the 200 (29%) appointments that were analyzed included a discussion of cost. During 38 of these 58 (66%) appointments, the discussion involved costs associated with the veterinarian's time or with services provided by the veterinarian. Overall, reference to a written estimate was made during only 28 of the 200 (14%) appointments. Cost discussions were most common during appointments in which a decision related to diagnostic testing or dentistry was made. Appointments were significantly longer when a cost discussion was included than when it was not. Results of the present study suggested that discussions related to cost were relatively uncommon during clini...Continue Reading


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