Beginning on January 1, 2021, patients should be able to search a hospital or health system website for the prices on 200 standard procedures. Mandated by CMS in 2020, the purpose was to provide a measure of price transparency for patients and consumers when seeking medical care.
|Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay|
In randomly searching the internet on hospitals and health systems websites for pricing information, I found a confusing maze of information. In all cases, the ability to find and search the information was difficult at best. I know my way around a website, search terms, and the internet as a healthcare provider and vendor marketing professional. If I have difficulty finding, searching, and using the information to decide, how is a consumer or patient?
Kudos to any hospital or health system that provided an experience that made the information easily accessible, searchable, and user-friendly.
I am sure that over time with prodding from CMS, the ability for a patient to search for a hospital or health systems website for pricing information on 200 standard procedures will improve and be easier to find, more user-friendly, with a better user experience.
Price transparency and a good user experience is not a question of if but when.
|Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay|
How is the healthcare organization preparing for the eventuality?
In answering the question, there are four strategic dimensions for managing the patient's price search for consideration.
1. Marketing Plan - How are you positioning the hospital and the newly available price and shoppable services information in the market, i.e., what the detailed marketing plan?
2. Engagement Plan - What are your key messages that need to be delivered to patients and the community? What channels- digital, social, and traditional will be used to provide the key messages?
3. Experience Plan - What are the training programs and Q&As created to equip the employees who will most likely face questions from patients and the community regarding your prices and shoppable services?
4. Crisis Communications Plan -What are the talking points you will use to defend higher prices in services than your competitors? What are your talking points when you decide to raise your lower process to those of a competitor?
These four dimensions of the patient price information puzzle are not an afterthought. They should foster a much-needed critical strategy discussion and tactical marketing execution in the age of price transparency. As much as we would like, patient pricing information cannot be left to the "we'll deal with this if any questions come up" strategy, because we made it so difficult to find and use. Pricing and shoppable service information is becoming a strategic imperative that is an essential part of the organizational, business, financial, marketing, patient engagement, and experience plans.
If it's not, then don't talk about how patient or consumer-focused you are; either walk the talk or don't talk.
Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The opinions expressed are my own.