Company offers healthcare, drug pricing via Twitter

Over the last few years, the idea that consumers will make better choices if they have pricing information has become something of a gospel. However, studies have suggested that when hospitals and external rating agencies make comparative cost information available, patients don't use it as often as they should.

Given this gap between industry expectations and reality, it will be interesting to see whether a new, Twitter-based service offering information on provider and drug pricing will have more appeal. The new service, ASKch (http://ask.changehealthcare.com/) allows patients to tweet requests for local pricing alternatives and get back relevant information in a return tweet.

At the moment, the service offers a rather short list of questions consumers can ask, including the cost of a particular drug brand near a given zip code, the generic name for a branded drug and what generic discounts are available for a particular drug in their zip code.

However, the service is still at the beta-testing stage, so it may very well grow far beyond this short list of available questions. As time goes on, expect to see ASKch--and predictably, rivals who pick up on this idea--offer more sophisticated methods for delivering cost and even quality information through social media channels.

To learn more about this service:
- read the ASKch Web page

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