By Sara McFarland, Communications Director with Save on Medical
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post submitted by Save on Medical, a 2014 graduate of the Healthbox accelerator program sponsored by the GuideWell family of companies.
Picking the right physician for you or your family is important. So, whether you’ve just moved to a new area or your health care insurance coverage has changed, finding a new doctor can be a stressful process. Discerning the quality of a doctor or their practice however can be a whole other challenge. Most of the time in radiology, patients are directed to their radiologist based on the preference of their referring physician. Patients often don’t even realize that they have a choice in where they go.
Due to the large disparity in pricing for diagnostic imaging procedures, more patients are starting to shop around for affordable options. Making a decision about your health based solely on price could be risky though.
As the health care industry exists now, patients don’t have control over the cost or quality of medical procedures.This is partly because of how hard it is to actually quantify the quality of a physician if you don’t know what you’re looking for during an evaluation. In radiology for instance, the patient will likely only come in to contact with a front desk employee and the technologist who performs the scan. The patient will probably not even meet the radiologist, who could be interpreting the scan from anywhere in the world. Other things come into play when you’re looking at a radiology center’s quality, things that patients might not even be aware of like accreditations and the strength of an MRI magnet or slices in a CT scanner.
We’ve all seen the headlines demanding better price transparency in health care, but it’s important to note the necessity of quality transparency as well. At Save On Medical, we know patients need access to quality scores and true prices if we expect them to be empowered consumers in the health care process. Unfortunately though, cost is not indicative of quality in our industry the way it is in others. This is why we developed our Docometer score.
Save On Medical’s first requirement for any radiology provider who wants to join the network is that they are ACR (American College of Radiology) accredited, which is the gold standard in radiology. Next, we evaluate the facility on over 50 key points, which we weigh, based on importance.
Some components we consider are:
- Same day appointment availability
- Age and strength of equipment
- Turn-around time of reports/results
- Sub-specialized radiologists on staff
- On-site radiologists
- Multi-modality capabilities
- Convenient/free parking
- Additional accreditations/awards etc.
The goal is to give patients the power to make decisions about their health care providers based on what is most important to them. Gone are the days of confusing medical bills that come in the mail after a patient thought they already paid. Picking a doctor without knowing anything about their quality? Ancient history. Save On Medical is changing the way patients shop for health care procedures
About the Author:
Sara McFarland is the Communications Director for Save On Medical and Atlantic Health Solutions. Sara is a national speaker and writer on topics including health care marketing, health innovation and startups, social media, online reputation management, public relations and creative development.
About Save On Medical:
Save On Medical (www.saveonmedical.com) is an online marketplace for medical procedures that uses price transparency to help patients make informed care decisions based on cost, quality or convenience —similar to the way Expedia does for travel. Providers are then able to advertise their pricing, collect up-front payment and fluctuate prices based upon demand.