The term “bandwagon fan” is usually a bad thing, but not in the case of price transparency in health care. You’ve heard all about it; the transparency bandwagon in health care. Providers all over the country are adopting transparency in more ways than one, working to make price and quality metrics more available to their patients. We can all thank the Catalyst for Payment Reform and their state by state grading report on this trend, as it painted most states in a rather negative light. This was a good thing for patients however, because it helped them realize just how blind they were to the convoluted pricing gaps in health care.
The good news for health care providers is that they can dive in and be transparency pros with the help of websites, programs and resources that benefit both their practices and their patients.
No specialty makes more of a case for price disparity and quality confusion than radiology. Independent centers and hospital systems tend to have a garishly large difference in price, which is especially important to patients for elective procedures. All too often, patients end up opting to go without the care they need which can lead to the commoditization of care in the radiology industry. On the same token, the differences in quality between one imaging center and another can be astronomical. The issue with this, is that the task of discerning quality must fall on the shoulders of the health care providers, because often times patients do not realize that higher costs do not necessarily equate to better care.
If there was a way to give patients better tools for patient consumerism and education on a platform where providers could easily refer patients to imaging centers that fit their bill (pun intended), then both parties can benefit. Physicians will see happier patients and less confusion by implementing a transparency strategy and their patients will be able to get the care they deserve without breaking the bank.