Physicians, Other Providers Enlisted to Help Steer Patients Toward Savings

Researchers and policymakers say one reason healthcare prices continue to outstrip inflation and quality of care lags is that most patients have no way to compare the price and quality of different healthcare providers, products and services.

Researchers and policymakers say one reason healthcare prices continue to outstrip inflation and quality of care lags is that most patients have no way to compare the price and quality of different healthcare providers, products and services.

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Source: Modern Healthcare

Consumers seem increasingly hungry for that information. A September 2012 Harris Interactive poll found 62% of people thought an online healthcare cost calculator was “important” or “very important,” even though only 6% said they have access to such a service.

So private insurers, employers, federal and state healthcare programs and other groups have released a growing number and variety of cost and quality comparison tools. They're betting that consumers finally are primed to use such tools because they are bearing a growing share of the cost of their own care under insurance plans with higher deductibles and other cost-sharing. And they're trying to enlist physicians in the effort to persuade patients to consider cost and quality data in making care decisions.