I speak regularly about the benefits of price transparency and the service our company, BuildMyBod Health provides. From the beginning, I always knew doctors were hesitant to show their prices online.
In fact, during my lectures, I would list the three reasons doctors shy away from online price transparency:
- – concern that patients will price shop
- – patients may not understand costs are estimates and can change with insurance or body habitus
- – that their competitors will be looking
Now I realize, there’s a more fundamental concern. While I feel this concern is unfounded, perception is reality.
Another reason doctors don’t show their prices
Doctors think that if you show price, that means they (doctors) are suggesting to the patient that price should be their primary concern. It’s not so much that doctors worry patients will price shop instead of focusing on the doctor-patient relationship. Rather, they worry they’re giving the consumer permission to price shop. In other words, they feel they’re enabling the price shopping mentality and at the same time, suggesting experience and board certification don’t really matter. And if experience doesn’t matter, maybe that also suggests to the patient that they can get the same expertise at a cheaper price.
But no, it doesn’t mean any of that! Doctors should provide pricing information because it’s educational. It also gives the office staff the chance to explain the value inherent in the doctor and the practice before revealing price. But discussing price is also extremely practical from a practice management standpoint.
Improved customer service
Potential patients call doctor’s offices all day everyday asking about price. That’s a lot of time on the phone that can be handled more efficiently by integrating a Price Estimator on a doctor’s website. Instead of 20 calls a day asking about price, 18 of them can be answered in an automated way through an online Price Estimator that requires the consumer enter their contact info before receiving a quote. That means every pricing inquiry results in a lead for the doctor’s office.
While 18 out of 20 can automatically receive pricing through the Price Estimator, what about the other two? For those who insist on calling the office, they can receive a price in an equally efficient manner. When a caller tells the office staff the specific procedure they want pricing on, the staff member pulls out their Price Estimator app on their phone. The staff taps on the procedure-of-interest on the app and asks for the caller’s contact info. After submission, the caller gets an estimate in their inbox and the office has captured another lead!
So rather than erroneously believing they’re enabling a price shopping mentality, the doctor should recognize a few things. First, educating the consumer on their financial obligations before coming in for a consult is an example of providing excellent customer service. Second, you’re helping the patient avoid a consultation process that may end in sticker shock. And three, by automating the process of pricing inquiries, you can minimize staff burnout from repetitive actions day in and day out.
Price isn’t the only pain point…but it is the ultimate pain point!
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that price is the only pain point. But it is the ultimate pain point. It doesn’t matter how board certified the doctor is, if the patient can’t afford the procedure or qualify for financing, they’re not going to get that elective procedure. So doctors should do the right thing for the patient and the practice and show their pricing!