Case Study: Price Estimation

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Empowering Patients to Create Accurate Price Estimates

The Challenge

Recent regulations demand that hospitals post prices online. Unfortunately, in many cases the result may provide transparency, but it doesn’t help patients navigate costs and estimate real prices. Tracking actual medical cost is complex and highly variable by patient and physician usage. While directionally helpful, efforts to standardize procedures are based on layers of assumption.

 

Houston Methodist Center for Innovation saw an opportunity to help patients understand costs and create estimates with a high degree of accuracy so they could make wise, informed decisions on how to proceed with purchasing health care.

The Solution

The Center for Innovation sought to create tools that remove friction for consumers so they can make financial decisions for themselves.

 

The technology is simple, and the capability is built into EPIC’s MyChart module, but change management is a challenge. If anything happens to impact price, that change needs to be updated across the board. Therefore, this program required true cross-disciplinary collaboration among our executive, contracting, finance, EPIC and IT teams.

 

To simplify the process, we packaged our top 100 most-requested estimates. Patients can filter by medical condition or procedure, insurance and other relevant features, then click to see a reasonable estimate displayed. The teams involved were determined to keep functionality simple, use common language and design it for mobile first. 

The Pilot

The Center for Innovation piloted the program with employees, and we are working to refine the price-estimation tool. Once the necessary level of accuracy is achieved, Houston Methodist can roll out the program to consumers. First, the tool will be introduced as a part of the MyChart functionality on the MyMethodist app, with the goal to make the same tool available on the web for a broader consumer audience. 

The Results

Success will be measured by the volume, usage and an uptick in those types of appointments for the services on the price estimation tool.

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