Stephanie Krent, Imaging Performance Partnership
Two weeks ago, our colleagues in the Technology Insights program braved the Chicago weather to attend this year’s RSNA meeting. They sent dispatches back to their blog, The Pipeline, as our team featured some major research announced over the course of the week.
Now that the dust has settled, we’ve compiled some highlights from the coverage – but for the full effect, you’ll want to register for the webconference on December 11.
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Shaun Lillard, Imaging Performance Partnership
An expert panel at last week’s annual RSNA meeting in Chicago discussed how rising consumerism, health care reform, and new patient-payer relationships are shaping the future of radiology.
Consumerism and patient-centered care are trends we addressed in our 2012 national meeting study, Perfecting the Outpatient Experience: Tactics to Meet the Growing Consumer Mandate.
The six panel members and moderators came from benefits management, industry, patient advocacy, and cancer care backgrounds. Panelists shed light on different perspectives, but agreed that the industry is rapidly shifting.
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Emily Hague, Imaging Performance Partnership
A new tool in Colorado helps patients shop for discount imaging exams. Following the model of popular discount travel sites like Travelocity, CarePilot helps patients book empty appointment slots at off-peak times at a discount of between 10 and 30%.
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As out-of-pocket health care costs soar, hospitals and insurers are building websites to help consumers "shop" for the lowest priced care, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Three Michigan hospital systems--Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System, Oakwood Healthcare in Dearborn and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids--post average prices for common tests and procedures online. Insurers also are ramping up sites to include the costs of procedures, with some even providing consumers detailed information on local prices by ZIP code.
Nearly 2,000 individuals every day visit Ford's site, which represents a "fundamental shift" in how health care prices are set and published, according to the hospital's chief revenue officer. As more pricing information is publicized, the traditional hospital pricing model--which was based on the ideal charges hospitals wanted to collect from patients--is morphing into a model that highlights the average costs insurers typically pay and physician fees, according to the Free Press.
According to the director of sales strategy at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, price transparency will help eliminate cost variance among providers because every organization will want their prices to align with rates. "If your prices are out of whack, everyone will know it," the vice president of finance for Spectrum Health says.
The CEO of Medical Network One, a New York-based physician management service, says she expects consumers soon will be able to obtain pricing information from a touch-screen kiosk in a hospital lobby. She also predicts that concierge-type physicians' practices that charge a monthly or yearly fee to patients for packages of services also will gain ground because consumers will request price information as the country moves toward a more organized system of care under the federal health reform law (Anstett, Free Press, 3/4).
While it is helpful for patients to know the overall cost of their exam, it is critical, first and foremost, that hospitals are able to provide patients with accurate information on their actual out-of-pocket costs. It is particularly important for hospitals to provide this information in environments where patients are facing significant pressure from insurers to utilize lower cost providers.