When Sarah Ames realized that PriceDoc was an online maketplace to locate a Dentist and bid for Invisalign braces for her teeth, King 5 News thought it was great story for the Evening News. Watch this video to see how she saved $1,700 by using PriceDoc and received excellent quality, great service, and at the same time saved some some real money. In this economy, shopping online for healthcare procedures makes good sense!
As one of the founders of PriceDoc.com, I have been reflecting for years on how to measure and improve quality in healthcare. PriceDoc.com is on the frontier of new efficiencies in healthcare. Our logo, “Better Price-Better Healthcare,” has real meaning to providers and consumers alike.
There is an old adage; “if it costs more it must be better.” Is this really the case in medicine? Is the most expensive doctor or service necessarily the highest quality? I have seen many a plastic surgeon with an opulent waiting room on Park Avenue or Rodeo Drive decorated with marble statue and calming fountain, yet the technical quality of their work substandard, and their skill with Botox injections hardly justifies the premium price. Smoke and mirrors should not obscure outcomes, as they often do. The perception of medical quality is often rendered by marketing where objective measures are scant.
Yet many of us all know a truly gifted doctor who is not a marketing wiz or a gifted businessman. They are interested in caring for their patients and ask a fair price. After all, they spent years studying medicine and not the business of medicine. What makes good quality both for doctors and patients alike is for doctors to have the freedom to practice their craft and respond to the needs of their patients. One of my doctor friends once made a great comment out of frustration when a local large HMO was describing the patient encounter process they wanted the doctors to follow; “I am a doctor and not just a provider, and those are my patients and not just my subscribers”. In turn, the patients have the freedom to search a variety of physicians in their area who offer the same service, compare their background, their qualifications, as well as the price they are charging for the service.
In our society, as we strive to measure medicine, doctors, and hospitals, we develop ever more complex regulatory systems and management systems in healthcare on the misguided pretense that more measurements and systems create a better managed product. Keep in mind that there are more managers of healthcare than there are people delivering healthcare. Each well meant regulation or added administration burden escalated the cost of healthcare to the point that even seasoned physicians do not know the true hospital cost of a simple operation performed on outpatient basis.
This is another area of the changing medical paradigm where PriceDoc.com offers a unique benefit. This one-of-a-kind platform offers a negotiated price for health services that reflects the actual medical cost, without including all the third party nonsense. In addition to the much-needed cash pricing, PriceDoc.com also offers the public a unique opportunity to shop around. With qualification transparency, we are now getting a semblance of the true cost of the provider service being offered, and a chance for doctors and patients to be back in front of one another: where they belong. The consumer chooses a provider, learns about the specific service from the description, and for many services, is empowered to negotiate the cost for a reduced price.
As you browse the site, you will find some of the highest quality physicians and health care service providers on the market. Providers willing to embrace the new direct and negotiated paradigm in health care are the true engineers of change in health care. These providers are not afraid to share what their services cost, not afraid to compete with each other on quality or price, nor have their qualifications examined, and they are not afraid to perform the same high quality service for a lesser price, if the payment process is simplified and circumstances allow. This format will drive the highest quality and efficacy to rise to the top, and those who are unethical, over-priced or unappealing simply will not receive repeat business as we continue to implement feedback models for services and quality of care.
Pricedoc is a consumer and provider driven system that has no political leanings. It works with the Democratic platform of universal coverage implemented with mandates and it works well with the Republican platform of universal coverage implemented with prudent incentives to the private sector. Neither platform can work without establishing the true market cost of each medical service without the hidden cost shifting and administrative adjustments.
The PriceDoc.com platform is not designed to be a fit for every person, every service, or for every provider – but for some, it is the right solution. Consumers who are uninsured, underinsured, or use Health Savings Accounts, are the early beneficiaries of the PriceDoc.com site. With our current economy, so many Americans are struggling, and every dollar counts. We are proud to put the patient back in the driver’s seat of their own health care and we are proud of our doctors and other providers willing to embrace the PriceDoc way.
With more and more people having high deductibles or for those having no health insurance at all, cash based healthcare service makes perfect sense. The website www.pricedoc.com is moving forward to accommodate this large population of patients who are more than willing to pay out of pocket for medical and dental services. Patients enjoy paying significantly less for routine visits and likewise, their Providers enjoy zero paperwork and long wait periods to receive reimbursement. It is a win/win situation.
Cash is quickly becoming the secret formula for driving down healthcare costs and improving access to all Providers for a growing segment of the population. Those who do have health insurance will likely just have catastrophic coverage with a high deductible and opt to pay cash for regular office visits. This type of coverage is the fastest growing segment of the insurance population.
So, how much does it save the patient? Healthcare providers often discount their rates up to 30-40 percent and still realize a profit due to administrative and overhead cost reductions.
Bottom line – Cash has power to lower costs for both.
Here’s a good reference article.
Instead of doctors practicing medicine, they are relegated to oversee a staff to administer codes, forms and changing criteria. As a result, their time with patients is reduced to minutes. Hospitals are in a similar dilemma; and many have been forced to close their doors. Our current system of for profit HMO’s rewards the denial of care and penalizes the provision of care.Recently the CT Anthem CEO took home a 42.6 million bonus from premium revenues and multiple denial of care strategies. Insurance companies in the current healthcare system have not fared better. They have failed to please their shareholders, and often embroiled in adversarial relationships with their subscribers, not to mention providers. The current system of health insurance needs novel products.
Insured patients are frustrated with high monthly premiums and co-pays, as well as a lack of choices in types of care desired, services being covered and an overall loss of control. Insurance companies exert cost controls in variety of policies with costly implementation, create subscriber ill will, and ultimately have dubious results on healthcare costs. Such controls alienate the very core of their income from subscribers and employers.
PriceDoc.com is changing the paradigm for healthcare. It fosters participation of forward thinking doctors and other providers who are sufficiently confident in their abilities to serve their patients that they do not fear transparency of qualification and pricing. We believe that the Pricedoc business model of transparency will attract and select the best qualified doctors. This new platform allows doctors to compete for their patients based on their disclosed qualification and pricing schedules. This empowers the uninsured and underinsured patient to select their physician and even negotiate for the best price. Comparison shopping is the basis of a competitive market.
For providers, Pricedoc is a benefit. It allows them to display their qualifications, outcomes, and specialty specific technologies. It frees them from administrative burdens of insurance billing, coding, and procedure precertification. This in turns allows the provider to spend more time with the patient and less with the billing computer. It allows for better care at a better price. It is a win-win for both the patient and the provider and no one is enriched with a big bonus from your premium dollars, while your care is denied.
Recently our failing bank executives managed to give themselves multi-million bonuses from taxpayer bailout of their risky practices. It is our collective hope that a healthcare model where denial generates multimillion dollar bonuses is a practice of the past. Profits in healthcare should never be predicated on the loss of lives and denial of care. In broken banking system we loose our money; in broken healthcare system we lose our lives. Each one of us will be a patient one day in need of good and cost effective care.
We can see the potential of a direct interaction between the doctor and the informed patient. The health policy initiatives have gone on for years. Too many people derive their incomes from a multi-layer convoluted health care system. A fundamental change in our system may take years. Each new tax law creates new loopholes; likewise each new regulation creates new administrative layer and problems. PriceDoc is not everywhere yet, and not at its full potential, but a new paradigm in healthcare is coming.
Here’s a cool article that you may find interesting: http://cosmeticsurgerytoday.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/pricedoccom-helps-cosmetic-surgery-patients-cut-costs/
PriceDoc.com will launch a new website in the Puget Sound area on April 20, 2009. Consumers will then be able search online for discounted healthcare procedures and prices. There are nearly 300 Providers posting websites within Pricedoc that allow Consumers to review services, procedures, prices, education, training, and location of doctors, dentists, and licensed healthcare providers throughout the Puget Sound area. This is a revolutionary new approach for healthcare savings by simply using www.pricedoc.com.