How Do Attending Physicians Prepare Residents to Deliver High-Value, Cost-Conscious Care?

Lorette A. Stammen*, Erik W. Driessen, Celine C. V. I. Notermans, Fedde Scheele, Laurents P. S. Stassen, Renee E. Stalmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review



An estimated 20% of health care expenditures are wasteful. Educational interventions aimed at reducing waste by delivering high-value, cost-conscious care (HV3C) often focus on the role of the physician. This study sought to understand how attending physicians, who have a central role in the workplace, prepare residents to provide HV3C.


Researchers from Maastricht University in Maastricht, the Netherlands, conducted semistructured interviews between September 2016 and August 2017 with 12 attending physicians who supervise residents in the workplace. Participants were purposefully sampled from 5 institutions throughout the Netherlands to include surgical and nonsurgical attending physicians and hospital- and nonhospital-based physicians. Data collection and analysis were iterative, using principles of grounded theory.


The attending physician's approach to providing HV3C was an important factor in preparing residents in the workplace. Three differences became apparent: priority of HV3C training, feedback on HV3C, and obstacles to HV3C delivery. Results indicate that attending physicians use 3 teaching methods to teach HV3C delivery: Socratic questioning, role modeling, and setting limits. Training was often implicit and ad hoc.


How attending physicians deal with HV3C themselves influences how they prepare residents in the workplace. To optimize resident training, it may be important to create a supportive environment for HV3C delivery and training. Delivery could be supported by making HV3C a shared goal for attending physicians and residents, thereby providing insight into clinical practice behavior and minimizing the influence of obstacles. Training could be optimized by supporting a variety of teaching methods suitable for daily teaching to stimulate continuous learning in residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)764-770
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020



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