The relationship between physician and patient, has been the foundation of healthcare, built on empathy, honesty, and trust. Will moves toward increased price transparency change this foundational aspect of healthcare?
While there is wisdom in using pricing information from various hospitals and clinics when shopping services such as MRIs or routine blood tests, the ability to price-compare facilities or major surgeries could potentially disrupt the patient-physician relationship. For some, a difference in cost would be enough to make them go to a different hospital or request a different prescription than the one their doctor recommends. An overemphasis on cost when making care decisions may lead people to question what their doctor says and make it difficult to work together toward their long-term health goals.
Physicians want to provide the best outcomes to those in their care, so it can be particularly frustrating when costs get in the way of the optimal course of treatment. On the other hand, it is increasingly important that doctors understand the costs associated with the recommendations they are making to their patients.
As one doctor explained in an article on RevCycle Intelligence: “We do procedures in the hospitals, we do procedures in the office, and we do procedures in the ambulatory surgery center. Each location has a different cost associated with it, even though it’s an identical procedure.”