More than ever, health care providers need to help purchasers make intelligent, value-based decisions. Providers are being asked to reduce the total cost of care, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and move quickly on innovations that add value. But without transparent cost and quality data that enable purchasers to identify high-value providers, a key incentive for creating a higher-value health care system is absent.
As it stands, even proactive consumers who take it upon themselves to seek cost and quality information are often frustrated. As we’ve seen in recent examples in the media, consumers who contact providers seeking information on the costs of specific procedures frequently cannot find answers, or find that price estimates given by different providers can vary by as much as a factor of 10.