Recently there has been a major push towards transparency in the healthcare system. In the realm of Health IT, much of the innovation focuses on increasing accessibility, and ultimately transparency. While technology is continuously trying to improve this, there are still many issues with the way this system works, especially when it come to healthcare costs.
So the question becomes, why has there been so much resistance to the push for transparency when it comes to healthcare costs, especially when it has become so valued in the industry? There are multiple reasons, many quite complex, such as the shifting viewpoint of a patient as a consumer. The issue with this outlook is the question of whether a patient in distress can truly act as a consumer. Would someone really be concerned with what is cost effective if their life may be on the line? It seems the answer would be no, but until recently even finding out what may be the most cost effective service was impossible.
Now, in the state of Massachusetts, by law health insurers must make prices public. And this has revealed major variances in the same services across different providers. Lawmakers hope that in publicizing these prices and revealing major variety in cost, prices will ultimately be driven down. While this law can be seen as positive progress towards transparency, the idea of ‘comparison shopping’ healthcare services perpetuates the commercialization of these services. In the short term, the fact also still remains that even with the necessary resources, a person in need of immediate medical care, will probably not comparison shop first.
This puts the healthcare industry in quite the conundrum, without an easy resolution. What is apparent is that both the public and lawmakers are putting increased priority on transparency within the healthcare industry. And it is also equally as important to keep in mind the plight of the patient, and to not get caught up in the complexity of the system, when considering possible solutions.
As vendors and innovators within the industry, transparency must remain a priority of ours as well, in the best interest of those who need care. Technology can increase accessibility, and cut costs of healthcare, therefore allowing for more transparency throughout the system. By sharing this end goal for transparency in healthcare, health IT has the opportunity to drive progress towards this standard.
How do you think transparency within healthcare can be improved? Let us know in the comments section below.