Healthcare transparency is not a new term, but the plethora of useful tools quickly becoming available to patients are. Healthcare transparency, in short, is the action of allowing patients to make value-based healthcare decisions by providing meaningful cost and quality information.
1. Healthcare Transparency Tools
In its most basic sense, healthcare transparency is comparison shopping for healthcare on an online platform. Think Google Shopping or Shopzilla, but for everything health related. These comparison shopping tools are typically provided by your insurance provider to help you determine how much you will have to pay out of pocket for your healthcare services before services are rendered.
These comparison shopping tools are typically provided by your insurance provider to help you determine how much you will have to pay out of pocket for your healthcare services before services are rendered. Case studies show that healthcare transparency tools can save on average up to $74 per month per patient in health care costs in some states.
2. Remote Monitoring Systems
Remote patient monitoring systems allow real-time data to be quickly accessed by patients, caregivers, and doctors. They can also record critical information and patterns related to the patient’s physical state, mental state, vital signs, and even medication adherence. That information is quickly uploaded and made available to members of a healthcare team including nurses, doctors and family members.
Remote monitoring systems can save money in a number of ways, and those may end up even becoming more numerous with new technologies. For instance, by focusing on clinical vital signs with pre-set triggers, physicians can ensure that small problems don’t become big ones by addressing problems in real time. Not only can this directly save a life, it can also save thousands of dollars by potentially preventing emergency healthcare services.
Remote monitoring systems don’t only save money at home, they save money in the hospital as well. One study shows continuous remote monitoring of inpatients from their beds could save $224 to $710 per patient per year.
Telehealth and telemedicine typically refer to “virtual doctor visits”, which are two-way interactions between a patient and a physician via live video conferencing technology. Live video can be used for both consultative/diagnostic as well as treatment services. It’s not hard to imagine how virtual doctor visits can cost less and save time.
While telehealth should never be considered a substitute for emergency care, it is an easy way to increase convenience and significantly reduce healthcare costs. Some telehealth services like Doc on Call 24-7 and Call a Doctor Plus offer monthly plans that cost less than $20 a month. Other services like MD Live offer a per-session cost of around $50.
4. Online Health Condition Management Programs
Online health condition management programs are online tools that help you manage your medical condition from home, hopefully reducing any time you have to spend in a doctor’s office. While these programs may not be for everyone, and they may not eliminate the need to visit your doctor, they can save you a ton of money!
For example, let’s assume I have a painful back condition called sciatica that requires me to visit my chiropractor on a weekly basis or at least every time I have a painful flare-up. Believe it or not, there is an online management program that will help me manage this condition from home.
This is just one of many online programs developed to help you stay out of the doctor’s office through at home education and action. There are a number of other great online programs that exist for a variety of different ailments including arthritis, and even headaches.
5. Medical Billing Management Apps
Medical billing management apps help patients better understand and manage health costs from their phone, utilising technology that makes aggregating and viewing health claims, insurance information, and medical data easier than ever before.
Even though it’s easy to overlook the savings one might have in not being sent to collections, the mere fact that these apps have decreased the number of bills sent to collections makes it is hard to deny the savings these apps are responsible for.
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