PJ Media

Transparency in Healthcare

a href=”http://drwes.blogspot.com/2006/04/show-me-money_13.html”Dr. Wes/a, a cardiologist, asks if it might make a difference in healthcare costs if we knew the actual cost of our care:br /br /blockquoteBut what if costs were disclosed? What if costs were available online or during the ordering process on the Electronic Medical Record for physicians to make judgments about how many tests they REALLY need? Might it affect care negatively? I doubt it. Would it change outcomes? Probably not. Reduce cost? Absolutely. Is it difficult to implement? No.br /br /And taking that concept one further, what if the patient could see the costs of expensive technologies? What if the costs of implantable defibrillators were available online? (For instance, it’s easier to find what a defibrillator weighs, than what it costs…. I checked Google, the big three ICD manufacturers websites [Guidant, Medtronic, St. Jude] and could find none.) Stents? Would patients always want the “expensive version” of technology or would they settle for a lesser model if it saved them or the system a few bucks? I don’t know. But to shield the ultimate consumers (the patient and their doctors) from these costs is counter-productive and serves to permit price increases to occur without public awareness and limits free-market competition. Transparency in healthcare costs is just as important as transparency on corporate financial statements. Maybe more. And this won’t just help the doctors and patients./blockquotebr /Incidentally , Dr. Wes, a href=”http://www.sjm.com/procedures/procedure.aspx?name=ICD+Implantation”mine/a cost about one hundred thousand dollars–give or take a bit.