After taking over an existing plastic surgery practice here in San Francisco almost a year ago and providing pricing information on my private practice website, I’ve learned a few interesting things. Patients like price transparency! Allow me to explain.
On our website, we have a Pricing tab. If you click on this tab, you’ll find a total of 104 procedures (surgical and non-surgical) and their descriptions. After perusing the various procedures we offer, the patient can add procedures of interest to their “wishlist.” To determine the cost of these procedures, the patient must then create a free account by providing their name, email address and phone number. Once they submit their wishlist, they receive a breakdown of their costs for those procedures.
Over the past year, we’ve had a tremendous response. 208 prospective patients submitted a total of 412 ‘wishlists’. That means 208 patients were interested enough in finding out the cost of a procedure before coming in for a consultation, that they provided their contact information to do so. Interestingly, patients enjoyed the process of making wishlists, which is why on average, each patient submitted 2 wishlists with various combinations of procedures. Of the patients that ultimately came in for a consultation, 62.2% of them booked a procedure. This is compared to only 44% booking a procedure if they were not aware of cost before coming in for a consultation. In other words, price-aware patients were 41% more likely to book a procedure than non-price-aware patients.
Price transparency is sorely lacking in healthcare these days but when you provide it, the patient experience is improved and patients appreciate that. Keep in mind that while this little experiment in price transparency benefitted cosmetic patients paying out-of-pocket, this will also improve the patient experience for patients with high-deductible health plans that are paying out-of-pocket for medically necessary services too.