While physicians typically shy away from listing medical prices on their website, there is a way to do it to ensure patients and practices are both winners.
In fact, there are several benefits for physicians if they are transparent with the prices to their services, said Jonathan Kaplan, a plastic surgeon at Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery, a practice based in San Francisco. Kaplan presented on pricing transparency at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (Conference), held this year in Las Vegas.
In the past, providers have hesitated to list the prices of the medical services they offer — either on the practice website or sharing that information through mobile phone apps — because of three reasons. "[Physicians] are worried patients are going to price shop. They are afraid patients won't understand these are estimates and might change because of policy or the negotiated rates. They are also afraid competitors will be checking their prices," Kaplan said.
Yet, because of high-deductible health plans and patients paying more out-of-pocket expenses, Kaplan said this will become necessary for physicians to market their practices. "Even if patients are paying out of pocket for medically necessary services, they are still paying out of pocket," he said about the cost-conscience healthcare consumer.
Kaplan advocated providers should list prices in a way that will capture potential patient information. For his practice, this meant implementing a platform on his practice website that requires patients to fill out vital contact information before getting an estimate. This process, he said, has several potential benefits, which Kaplan shared at HIMSS16.
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