'Comparison Shopping' by Doctors Saves Money
Date: July 1, 2013
Recent research at Johns Hopkins suggests that if hospitals would show physicians the price of some diagnostic laboratory tests at the time the tests are ordered, doctors would order substantially fewer of them or search for lower-priced alternatives.
In a study of up-front price transparency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the researchers found that the practice of offering price information decreased overall use of tests by roughly 9 percent. Currently, hospitals typically keep both patients and providers essentially blind to the cost of medical services, a system that wastefully contributes to the astronomical cost of health care in the United States, the researchers say.
Sharing the price of tests saved hundreds of thousands of dollars at The Johns Hopkins Hospital over the course of six months, the researchers found.
Much of the change in behavior can be attributed to simple comparison shopping, says study leader Leonard S. Feldman, an assistant professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins University