What will make doctors like patients more and what will make patients like doctors more?! Full disclosure, honesty and price transparency. They all go hand in hand. And nothing is more absent from healthcare than price transparency, but that doesn’t have to be. Price transparency can, if done the right way, give both the patient and doctor a sense of greater knowledge and control in these trying financial times. How can price transparency help you?
High-Deductible Health Plans
More and more patients are paying out-of-pocket for their medical care even if they have insurance. Sure this used to be the territory of plastic surgeons and dermatologists that charged cash upfront for cosmetic procedures. But with the advent of affordable high-deductible health plans, more and more consumers are paying their first $1000-$5000 out of pocket. As pointed out in Exhibit F (below) of this Kaiser Family Foundation study, the number of workers enrolled in high-deductible plans at companies with more than 200 employees reached an estimated 38 percent in 2013, up from 10 percent in 2006. That means that if you offer your pricing information online for a 1) consult, 2) vaccinations or 3) a history and physical, patients may be more apt to come to you since they know how much the doctor will charge before going in for their consultation.
Higher Conversion Rate When Patients Know Cost Ahead of Time
According to RealPatientRatings.com, a patient is more likely to schedule cosmetic surgery at the time of their consultation if they’re prepared for the cost. By providing pricing information online prior to their visit, you can avoid causing your patient “sticker shock.” This is true for both a cosmetic or medically necessary out-of-pocket expense. Simply put, RealPatientRatings’ study found that patients that were more informed of pricing ahead of time were 21% more likely to schedule a procedure.
Don’t Give the Milk Away for Free
The last thing you should do is post all of your prices as a static webpage on your site. If you did that, then you would have no way of capturing the patients that were interested in pricing information. They would just check out your prices and you would get nothing. But with newer online tools that can be embedded into your website, you can require the patient to provide contact info in exchange for a breakdown of costs depending on what procedures they choose from the list you provide on your site. For an example of how procedure pricing can be provided in quid pro quo format, check out this website.
To learn more about how you, the doctor, can receive more leads from serious patients and how serious patients can find doctors that believe in price transparency, check out BuildMyBod.com.
Dr. Jonathan Kaplan is a board-certified plastic surgeon based in San Francisco, CA and founder/CEO of BuildMyBod, a website that provides consumers nationwide with itemized price estimates on the cost of cosmetic and other out-of-pocket procedures from its database of 86, and growing, board-certified plastic surgeons, dermatologists and other health care providers that believe in price transparency. Visit our blog, find us on twitter @buildmybod; and on Facebook and Pinterest.