As health care costs continue a steep climb, health care purchasers are looking for ways to save. As a result, steerage is emerging as a key purchaser strategy.
Payer steerage is not a new concept. However, many employers have begun to feel that their best strategy for containing costs – high-deductible health plans – has not proven sufficiently effective. As a result, payers – as well as other entities – are stepping in to aggressively direct patients toward lower-cost sites. Outpatient imaging services – which tend to be non-emergent, available at a variety of outpatient facilities, and often perceived as generally uniform in quality despite significant variation in price – are a prime target for steerage.