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Bringing Competition to Healthcare

Posted on January 21, 2014 by Randy Cox   (all articles)

So much of the focus around bringing healthcare prices under control is in the area of transparency. Pricing Healthcare is certainly heavily involved in that. But there is something additional we are working toward, which we think is just as valuable to consumers.

Competition in Healthcare

Imagine a world where medical and dental providers compete for customers in a variety of ways:

  • on price (advertising low prices, advertising discounts and special offers, and offering savings through bundling of services)
  • on service (publicizing low wait times, offering reimbursements or giveaways when patients are inconvenienced in any way)
  • on care quality (guaranteeing their services, participating in independent studies meant to measure quality, listening to customer feedback on physicians and departments that may be problematic)

Unfortunately in healthcare, demanding to be compensated for poor service doesn't usually get you very far (I've tried it with multiple physicians' practices - no luck). Nor does complaining about unfathomably high prices (yep, tried that too). The industry doesn't seem too concerned about losing the business of one or two patients. But there are a lot of healthcare organizations out there which are more than a little concerned about being profitable (including so-called non-profits). They need new customers, new business, and many of them have marketing budgets. Pricing Healthcare thinks that's a great place to start.

Local Provider Directories

We've begun rolling out locale-specific provider directories, allowing practices to pay a small fee to market themselves relative to other practices in the same vicinity.

Do we really believe that advertising medical practices on our site will bring about lower prices or higher quality? We do, and here's why. For starters, a well-targeted Yellow Pages-like online directory of various physicians and hospitals can help consumers know who is accepting new patients. Take a look at Pricing Healthcare's initial listing page for dentists in the Provo, Utah area, and you'll see how this can work.

You'll notice that providers give patients a lot more information than a simple white-pages service. Introductory discounts, multi-lingual physicians, practices that cross multiple specialties, modernized equipment – these are just the beginning. Our various directories are still being built out, but over time it will become easier to find specialists closer to home with specific traits.

Providers Wanting to Compete

As we've begun reaching out to providers, we've found that many of them are interested in competing, in one way or another, for customers' business. Some providers are even initiating the conversation with us. They generally know whether they have better than average care quality, low wait times, comparatively low prices, etc., and they want to profit from it.

Parenthetically, we of course have a keen interest in those wanting to compete on price. In the coming weeks we will begin an additional form of facility promotion: the hosting of dedicated facility price lists.

Accelerating competition in healthcare is one of our top priorities. But we also aim to keep banner ads and other invasive advertising out of the way of our site visitors. We've designed provider promotions in such a way that you only see them if you are interested in shopping around.

Expanding Provider Directories in Your Area

Individual patients can help move care givers into the world of competitive healthcare more quickly. If your clinic or provider has advantages that you'd like see others adopt, email us so we can contact them. Or let them know the next time you talk to someone in their office. You may be surprised at their response. Doctors and dentists, like every other business, are in need of a regular flow of new patients and new business. If they don't compete for patients' business now, they may eventually be passed up by those who do.