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Cool Tech Bringing Price Transparency to the Consumer


The revelations about Romneycare this week once again underscored the importance of price signals and price transparency in our health care system. Fortunately, though hospitals have a vested interest in keeping their prices secret, there’s some neat tools out there for finding price comparisons on procedures and between hospitals.

We just came across a new one by San Francisco technology company Price Med. Price Med offers a data platform that collects, analyzes, and presents price comparisons in a useable format. To show how its system works, the company’s site posted for free the results of two different analyses. First, the site contains a comparison of California hospitals, showing the cheapest and most expensive hospitals, along with the data on those hospitals’ overpriced and underpriced treatments. Second, the company has made available a breakdown of prices for common procedures, showing what nationwide highs and lows, as well as averages, look like.

Getting tools like this into the hands of the average consumer will be essential to the future of health care. We’ll be watching for similar innovations, and highlighting as we find them.

[Hospital technology image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • ljgude

    As I never tire of pointing out here I’m an American observing all this from Australia and what is obvious to me is that no matter how you slice it US healthcare costs twice as much as a percentage of GDP than in Australia. And Australia covers everybody and has slightly better health outcomes. Our is a hybrid public and private system that forces private hospitals to compete against public hospitals. It works to keeps costs down. Getting the costs out in public where people can see them is a great first step. Then take it a step further and include the costs to have particular procedures done in India or elsewhere. Give US medicine global competition – not just national. Australian universities make a lot of their income from foreign students, maybe Australian hospitals will get into making money by treating foreign patients. I’m seeing figures that US healthcare spending is up to to 17.5% of GDP from the more often quoted figure of 16%. I don’t know what the truth is, but with ACA capping it at 17.5% by 2017 it doesn’t look like it is going in the right direction. I think the healthcare system is out of control and the tools to disintermediate it are becoming available. Let’s use them.

  • Torben S Nielsen

    @wrmead Check out HealthSparq – a new #hctransparency company providing price and quality information to Americans across the nation

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