It’s a Buyer’s Market: What Health Systems Should Know About Cost Transparency
// By Lisa D. Ellis //
You probably wouldn’t buy an appliance or book a cruise without knowing what it will cost. Yet historically, health care systems have expected patients to undergo various diagnostic tests, procedures, and treatments without any idea of what they will be charged. But times are changing quickly.
Today, as consumers become responsible for increasingly larger portions of their health care costs, some are reducing their consumption of medical services in an effort to contain the financial impact. While most are not yet comparison-shopping based on cost, this is expected to change in the future. This could mean they’ll be willing to move their business to health systems that disclose what various services cost. As a result, not sharing your pricing upfront could end up costing you much.
As a health care marketer, this may leave you wondering how you can best help your organization navigate transparency and health care consumerism. Your organization may also feel pressure to compete by slashing prices and undercutting competitors. But such strategies likely will backfire. A more effective approach is to create a value proposition that enables people to feel comfortable giving you their business. After all, most consumers see high-quality care as well worth the cost. Therefore, savvy marketers should take steps to differentiate their organization’s services to attract more people.
This was the message at a session of the recent 2017 SHSMD annual conference presented by Daniel Weinbach, president and CEO of Weinbach Group, Inc.; Richard Klass, co-founder of KCI Partners, Inc.; and Justin Irizarry, co-founder and CFO of OrthoNOW, LLC (an urgent care group specifically for orthopedic injuries, with locations in South Florida, Georgia, and Michigan).