Healthcare News & Insights

Meeting price transparency demands

Patients are shouldering more of the financial burden of their care, and as a result there’s been a strong push for price transparency in the healthcare industry. Here’s how your hospital can meet the needs of those price-conscious patients. 

87462398According to Modern Healthcare, providers around the country are noticing a shift in the way patients view their care. Instead of asking clinical questions about treatments and medications, more patients are asking financial questions about services like, “How much will this cost me?” and “Can it wait?”

This trend is a reflection of how laws like the Affordable Care Act and other industry changes impact patients as they sign up for high-deductible and high-premium plans.

Some facilities and physicians take the questions in stride, saying it gives them a chance to enter deeper conversations about health, illness prevention and care management with patients. Having upfront conversations about the price of health care also helps patients avoid “sticker shock” about financial obligations they may not be accustom to.

But some providers are concerned that patients who are hyper-aware of cost could also hinder the quality of care they provide. They believe that if patients are overly concerned about price, they may postpone or skip vital treatments that could lead to bigger, pricier consequences down the road.

Unfortunately, many government agencies and private insurers are still pushing price transparency in the hopes it may slow healthcare spending and cut down on how much unnecessary care is delivered.

Price transparency tool

Since it’s likely that even more payors, federal agencies and private employers will insist on pricing information, your hospital will want to make sure that it provides multiple avenues where people can find what they’re looking for.

To help healthcare providers meet those demands for price transparency, the American Hospital Association recently released a guide, reports Hospital & Health Networks Daily.

The guide, “Achieving Price Transparency for Consumers: A Toolkit for Hospitals,” gives facilities a practical and comprehensive way to approach price transparency.

Hospitals should begin by going through the guide’s 13-question self-assessment checklist, to understand how accessible their pricing information is. You can then compare that information with other facilities because the guide provides case studies of other hospitals and health systems to show how they’ve approached the subject.

The most valuable sections of the guide though, are the web-based tools and practical exercises it gives facilities. For example, hospitals can get a sense of the challenges patients face in trying to access healthcare price information by performing a “secret shopper” exercise.

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