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Price transparency efforts and healthcare consumerism update at RSNA

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | December 14, 2020

She said that the Patient Advocate Foundation found in a secret shopper survey that 67 percent of insurers give “inconsistent” answers about patient costs. She advocates for payment models alternative to out-of-pocket. “Financial burden leads to higher out-of-pocket costs, higher out-of-pocket leads to lower medication adherence, it worsens their physical and mental health, and patients who have less than 12 months of financial reserve report increased symptoms and lower quality of life. Increased debt and bankruptcy … also increased mortality.”

The final speaker, Dr. David Seidenwurm, radiologist and medical director at Sutter Health, said that the current pandemic has effectively had a chilling impact on any hoped-for reform in healthcare cost delivery in the near-term, and that reducing healthcare percentage of GDP and insurance market reform seems less important given that there may not be a GDP or insurance market in 2021 due to COVID-19.

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"We’ve noticed, and I think this has been documented around the country, a shift to a lower volume of more complicated patients,” said Seidenwurm. “To some degree, this is good. The decrease in emergency room use seems to be disproportionally in the category of potentially avoidable visits.”

He also spoke about radiology’s place in the emerging financial delivery model of population health management and says mining patient experience (satisfaction) data could help radiologists increase perceptions of value among consumers (patients).

“We can hope, perhaps, that there will be a light at the end of the COVID tunnel and that we can go back to improving population health in the traditional way and use the knowledge we gained in the pandemic,” he said.

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