Researchers from Sutter Health and Stanford Center for Biomedical Innovation completed a study recently showcasing that a dynamic healthcare price transparency tool can offer accurate real-time estimates of ambulatory procedures. The study reveals that a new cost estimation tool revealed an 83.9% accuracy rate among patients.
Published in JAMA Network Open, the study reported on a survey completed by Sutter Health patients during 2018-2019. By the study’s end, out of 4,610 estimates were produced using the cost estimator tool. Out of these, 3, 600 estimates (77.4%) were initiated online by patient self-service interactions via Sutter Health’s patient portal. Another 1,041 estimates (22.6%) originate from the Sutter Health Telephone Service Center.
Sutter Health Comment
Albert Chan, MD, MS, FAAFP, vice president and chief digital patient experience reported that “Healthcare cost transparency is understandably important to our patients.” He continued, “ Providing digital tools such as our online cost estimator is another example of our continued commitment to empowering our patients with responsive, personalized care.”
Price Watch: Transparency is Key
TrialSite News was founded on the premise that a patient revolution is in the making. There is a drive toward making clinical trials more transparent—providing information in such a way that more patients understand the benefits and the risks, for example, of experimental, pre-approved therapy is key. Although TrialSite News focuses on clinical research (e.g., pre-FDA or EMA approval), the topic of individualized price transparency tools are important and necessary for patients due to our mandate to bring overall transparency to research in the broader healthcare category. Ultimately the focus is healthcare-related, and with increased enrollment in high-deductible health insurance plans and mandates, in the United States, from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, this recent study of a price transparency tool caught our attention. In America today, 46% of individuals younger than 65 are covered via high-deductible health plans. Costs and price tags are important. Those watching healthcare costs generally and drug prices specifically should take an interest in studies such as this.
Cheryl D. Stults, PhD
Jiang Li, PhD
Dominick L Frosch, PhD
Hari Krishnan, BS