Healthcare Price Transparency Comes to America (Part 1)

The Internet, and its natural progression to e-commerce, has transformed how we buy everything from groceries, apparel, and attaining an education, to how we purchase cars and even homes over the last 20 years.

One industry has been only slightly impacted by the Internet; that industry is healthcare.  Let us be clear, we are very aware that we live in a world where Google is most of Americans’ first step in the self-diagnosis of a symptom or disease.  It is also our second step, once our physicians tell us what is really wrong.

Even though we should believe what our physicians tell us, we cannot resist the human impulse to self-diagnose, thus continuing the search on the Internet for more information or maybe a magical cure not taught in medical school.

It is easy to find a YouTube video from a world-renowned expert on nearly any known disease or medical condition these days.  These experts can explain it, discuss it, and still we comment/question/interact with the posting (if we desire) and/or keep looking for more data.

As I have personally experienced, sometimes with near academic perfection, the truth will be found to correspond with what my attending physician has already told me.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had this experience.

The overwhelming impact of the World Wide Web flow of information from the widely available body of knowledge is perhaps comparable to the invention of movable type and the Gutenberg press on a pre-industrialized civilization.

Recently, a prestigious healthcare and peer-reviewed healthcare policy magazine published what we think is a landmark report.  This report, in the August 2017 edition of Health Affairs [page 1392], contains a fascinating research paper, titled “Americans support price shopping for healthcare, but few actually seek out price information.”

 We will discuss more on that report in our next blog.

For now, we will share what we believe will occur in the next two years – not only will you be able to control all your wellness and clinic devices connected to your own Patient Wellness Record (PWR) portal, you will also be able to get the best times and optimum prices for most of the products and services you need for your wellness.  The idea that you can currently walk out of a provider’s office with a phone number and a prescription for a product or service to instead have that process fully automated and instantly available through your device could happen in just a few short years.

– Noel J. Guillama, President