In a research brief from Altarum, researchers sought to evaluate healthcare price and quality transparency tools for their functionality and usefulness. The study employed a unique approach designed to emulate consumers’ real-world experience of trying to schedule needed healthcare. Using six common, non-emergency medical scenarios, they tested six highly ranked healthcare transparency tools with real consumers and evaluated their ability to navigate the tools to get desired information.
The findings reveal a deep divide between the information that consumers would typically seek and the information provided by the transparency tools. Moreover, cognitive interviews revealed that consumers would not typically turn to a web-based comparator tool to select a provider. Indeed, many were surprised to learn that tools like the ones tested in this exercise even existed. Instead, they would ask friends, family, use Google and call their insurance plan (if the person had insurance) to get needed information before scheduling a procedure.
The study found major gaps in how consumers approach scheduling non-urgent medical care and the type of information offered in highly ranked healthcare transparency tools.