Nav: Home

Transparent pricing boosts business at outpatient surgical centers, study suggests

June 13, 2018

In a small study of ambulatory surgical centers across the country, Johns Hopkins quality care researchers found that publicly listing the prices of common operations, such as uncomplicated labor and delivery and tonsillectomies, generally increased business, revenue and patient satisfaction.

A report of the findings, published in the April issue of The American Surgeon, suggests that hospitals and other health care providers may want to increase price transparency to boost their bottom lines, according to the investigators.

"There's a growing movement in the United States for transparent and fixed pricing for predictable services, and this study suggests that the market rewards such practices," says Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study.

Makary notes that previous studies have examined the effect price transparency has had on patients' health care expenditures, but the new research is believed to be among the first to examine the impact on medical providers.

For the study, Makary and his team identified eight ambulatory surgical centers from a database held by the Free Market Medical Association, an association that lists 96 surgical centers, individual physicians and medical groups that promote the movement for health care transparency. All eight listed prices for surgical services on their websites.

The researchers then sent a data collection form to the eight centers between April and May 2016. Six of the centers returned completed forms.

The forms asked for patient demographics, details of price transparency initiation, and how patient volume, patient inquiries for services, patient satisfaction and center revenue changed one year after making prices transparent.

Five of the six centers reported increases in patient volume and revenue after adopting price transparency. Specifically, they reported a midrange or median patient volume increase of 50 percent one year after implementing price transparency.

Four centers reported a 30 percent midrange revenue increase, while three centers experienced an average increase of seven new third-party administrator contracts. Three centers also reported a reduction in their administrative burden and five centers reported an increase in patient satisfaction and patient engagement after price transparency, as indicated by "yes" or "no" questions in the data collection form.

Makary cautions that his team's results do not categorically prove that the increased business outcomes and patient satisfaction are directly due in total or in part to price transparency policies. But the timing of the increases suggests the impact is positive, and officials at all six centers reported that they would recommend price transparency as a marketing strategy to other providers. Four of the centers reported a belief that price transparency increased both their annual revenue and the demand for their services.

Participants in the survey were also asked to name potential barriers to price transparency. The leading barrier listed was discouragement from hospitals, other providers or insurance companies.
-end-
Other authors on this paper include Ambar Mehta, Tim Xu and Ge Bai of Johns Hopkins, and Kristy L. Hawley of Union Memorial Hospital.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Related Health Care Articles:

Care management program reduced health care costs in Partners Pioneer ACO
Pesearchers at Partners HealthCare published a study showing that Partners Pioneer ACO not only reduces spending growth, but does this by reducing avoidable hospitalizations for patients with elevated but modifiable risks.
Health care leaders predict patients will lose under President Trump's health care plans
According to a newly released NEJM Catalyst Insights Report, health care executives and industry insiders expect patients -- more than any other stakeholder -- to be the big losers of any comprehensive health care plan from the Trump administration.
The Lancet: The weaponisation of health care: Using people's need for health care as a weapon of war over six years of Syrian conflict
Marking six years since the start of the Syrian conflict (15 March), a study in The Lancet provides new estimates for the number of medical personnel killed: 814 from March 2011 to February 2017.
In the January Health Affairs: Brazil's primary health care expansion
The January issue of Health Affairs includes a study that explores a much-discussed issue in global health: the role of governance in improving health, which is widely recognized as necessary but is difficult to tie to actual outcomes.
Advocacy and community health care models complement research and clinical care
Global lung cancer researchers and patient advocates today emphasized that new models of delivering care and communicating about cancer care play an important role in the fight against lung cancer.
About 1 million Texans gained health care coverage due to Affordable Care Act
Texas has experienced a roughly 6 percentage-point increase in health insurance coverage from the Affordable Care Act, according to new research by experts at Rice University and the Episcopal Health Foundation.
In India, training informal health-care providers improved quality of care
Training informal health-care providers in India improved the quality of health care they offered to patients in rural regions, a new study reports.
Affordable Care Act has improved access to health care, but disparities persist
The Affordable Care Act has substantially decreased the number of uninsured Americans and improved access to health care, though insurance affordability and disparities by geography, race/ethnicity, and income persist.
Integrated team-based care shows potential for improving health care quality, use and costs
Among adults enrolled in an integrated health care system, receipt of primary care at integrated team-based care practices compared with traditional practice management practices was associated with higher rates of some measures of quality of care, lower rates for some measures of acute care utilization, and lower actual payments received by the delivery system, according to a study appearing in the Aug.
Study finds quality of care in VA health care system compares well to other settings
The quality of health care provided to US military veterans in Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities compares favorably with the treatment and services delivered outside the VA.

Related Health Care Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Don't Fear Math
Why do many of us hate, even fear math? Why are we convinced we're bad at it? This hour, TED speakers explore the myths we tell ourselves and how changing our approach can unlock the beauty of math. Guests include budgeting specialist Phylecia Jones, mathematician and educator Dan Finkel, math teacher Eddie Woo, educator Masha Gershman, and radio personality and eternal math nerd Adam Spencer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#517 Life in Plastic, Not Fantastic
Our modern lives run on plastic. It's in the computers and phones we use. It's in our clothing, it wraps our food. It surrounds us every day, and when we throw it out, it's devastating for the environment. This week we air a live show we recorded at the 2019 Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C., where Bethany Brookshire sat down with three plastics researchers - Christina Simkanin, Chelsea Rochman, and Jennifer Provencher - and a live audience to discuss plastics in our oceans. Where they are, where they are going, and what they carry with them. Related links:...