Factors associated with cost conversations in oral health care settings

Brown, T., Apenteng, B. A., Opoku, S. T.

BACKGROUND: Patient-provider cost conversations can minimize cost-related barriers to health, while improving treatment adherence and patient satisfaction. The authors sought to identify factors associated with the occurrence of cost conversations in dentistry. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study using data from an online, self-administered survey of US adults who had seen a dentist within the past 24 months at the time of the survey. Multivariable hierarchical logistic regression analysis was used to identify patient and provider characteristics associated with the occurrence of cost conversations. RESULTS: Of the 370 respondents, approximately two-thirds (68%) reported having a cost conversation with their dental provider during their last dental visit. Cost conversations were more likely for patients aged 25 through 34 years (odds ratio [OR], 2.84; 95% CI, 1.54 to 5.24), 35 through 44 years (OR, 3.35; 95% CI, 1.50 to 7.51), and 55 through 64 years (OR, 3.39; 95% CI, 1.38 to 8.28) than patients aged 18 through 24 years. Cost conversations were less likely to occur during visits with dental hygienists than during visits with general or family dentists (OR, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.58). In addition, respondents from the South (OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.04 to 3.48) and those screened for financial hardship were more likely to report having cost conversations with their dental providers (OR, 6.70; 95% CI, 2.69 to 16.71). CONCLUSIONS: Within the study sample, cost conversations were common and were facilitated via financial hardship screening. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Modifying oral health care delivery processes to incorporate financial hardship screening may be an effective way to facilitate cost conversations and provision of patient-centered care.

Topic(s): Economic Burden
Health Condition(s): Oral Health
Year Published: 2022
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