Transparency

Transparency

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A look at how healthcare monopolies affect the price of care

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The assumed approach to cancer treatment, "spare no expense," is being put to the test as treatments go from a few hundred dollars for one month to a year, to $10,000-a-month treatments.

According to NPR and Kaiser Health News, the longer a patient with cancer survives, the more likely he or she is to declare bankruptcy. And, previously, physicians treating these patients steered clear of discussing cost during treatment. More and more, patients and physicians alike are recognizing the need to discuss costs and seek healthcare cost transparency up front.

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Despite the government’s push to make health information more available, few people use concrete information about doctors or hospitals to obtain better care at lower prices, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Prices for the health care industry have historically been concealed and convoluted, unlike those for most other businesses. The 2010 health law aimed to make such information more transparent.

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Healthcare cost transparency allows healthcare consumers to be more savvy, but only if they access that information or know how and when to use it. While more and more health data is available, a full two-thirds of patients say they do not use quality and price information to make health decisions. 

Read more.

Healthcare cost, quality information not being fully used by patients
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.@HealthMineInc survey: 86% believe it's important to shop for #healthcare services, but just 46% do >> @Benefits_Pro http://t.co/bW6jkIB7II

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In the growing world of retail health care, where you can get your flu shots down the aisle from your Fritos, insurers like Florida Blue are jumping into the business — with a South Florida spin.

Clinic Practice Manager Lilia Pino examines 6-year-old Ashera Samad in Kendall, Florida (Photo by Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald Staff).

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The doctor behind those “doctor-recommended pills” is most likely someone who is paid to tell you that something will work for you whether or not it actually will. That’s why on-demand digital health app HealthTap says it undertook a project to gather the drug recommendations of over half a million medical doctors and put them together in a new initiative called RateRx. Read More

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And, it is only going to get worse. The Affordable Care Act ( ACA ) promises healthcare to millions more Americans. However, the legislation offers little to expand the number of nurses, doctors, and other ancillary personnel expected to take care of these folks.

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As I prepare to speak at the upcoming Second National Summit on Health Care Price, Cost and Quality Transparency, I am struck by how much progress has been made with healthcare transparency in just a few short years and its impact on consumers and on enterprises. For the consumer healthcare market, I am heartened when I hear about new programs that offer individuals general insight into costs for medical services and empower patients to ask their providers new questions.

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