Hospital website of the future will feature prices, instant provider communication

What should the hospital website of the future look like? One that provides price transparency and caters to the financial and immediate clinical needs of patients, according to Leah Binder, president and chief executive officer of the Leapfrog Group.

Today's consumers have new expectations about price and value, and hospitals must respond, Binder writes in the Wall Street Journal.  The website should include a menu of options that features bundled prices for procedures and treatments so they are meaningful to consumers, according to Binder. This may mean hospitals provide  "limited time offers" for medical services and provide "extended warranties."

"Suddenly a real customer is emerging in healthcare: a patient who is price-shopping, and asking what kind of value they get for their dollar," Binder writes. "Even though they will rarely need to pay their whole hospital bill, they have a new set of expectations and it is changing everything. Together, these patients are turning into a market, and that market will demand health systems move into the 21st century."

Although state governments have made some efforts to achieve price transparency, most are fragmented. For example, the state of New Mexico will begin posting hospital quality and price information starting in 2018, New Mexico In Depth reported. And there are also questions as to whether consumers will actually use the price information states and organizations provide to them. 

But Binder suggests that hospital create websites that allow more patient interactions. Along with the pricing data, Binder says hospital webites must allow patients to access their medical records through a fingerprint scan, access meaningful quality data, and obtain an instant videoconference with a physician, pharmacist or nurse. And, there must be a way for patients to post interactive feedback about their experience.

To learn more:
- read the Wall Street Journal opinion article 
- check out the New Mexico In Depth article