When I visit my local grocery store, I know exactly what each item I place in my basket will cost me at checkout. If there’s any doubt whether or not I paid the price that was posted on the shelf, there’s always a receipt for my review. Why should healthcare be any different?
It seems we’ve become complacent in the wait-and-see game when it comes to medical pricing. We get treated, and then wait to see the bill in our mailboxes telling us what the damage is.
I’ve long been a proponent of price transparency. I expect I’ll continue to beat that drum until our prices are laid out in clear and simple terms – much like the stickers on grocery items.
When I come across progress being made in the march toward clearer prices, I feel heartened and want to share it with you.
Price Transparency Pioneers
One organization also focused on the advancement of price transparency is Health Datapalooza. It’s an annual conference where tech innovators, clinicians, patient advocates, entrepreneurs, healthcare leaders, policymakers, and researchers converge to share tools and services to improve the lives of healthcare consumers.
This year’s conference included a contest for data-code teams to apply the recently released 2012 Medicare Provider Payment Data into tools consumers can actually use to see prices and physician performance patterns.
Check out these three price data application teams who were honored at the Datapalooza conference this year:
Its Smart Health Hero application gives consumers a starting point to pinpoint your physician’s treatment plan and costs.
The team developed an application that provides tools to get personalized cost estimates and forecast potential complications.
Myhealth.io providers and patients can easily find a surgeon based on the number of procedures performed, hospital quality, and more.
It’s exciting to see steps being taken toward providing more available information to consumers. We are a step closer to knowing what it’s going to cost us before we buy the product!
How will better price and performance transparency help you? Share your thoughts about consumer-driven, free-market health care with us!
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.