Background

Healthcare price transparency initiatives have recently become a larger force in healthcare reform. Price transparency is becoming widely adopted by Outpatient/Ambulatory Surgery Centers and provides pricing information to consumers/potential patients. The objective of this study is to examine the effects of price transparency on scheduling rates and procedure preferences in the outpatient surgical clinic.

Methods

‘Whishlist’, a novel pricing application listing available procedures, was incorporated within the website of an outpatient surgical practice. Using ‘Whishlist’, prospective patients created personalized lists with procedures of interest. After supplying their contact information, patients received emails containing estimated cost breakdowns including fees for the surgeon, OR/anesthesia, implants, and other ancillary costs. Patients were then contacted to come in for consultations before scheduling procedures.

Results

From February to March 2019, 98 prospective patients created wishlists using ‘Whishlist’ with 46 (46.94%) indicating interest in multiple procedures. Within our prospective patient population, 45 (45.92%) indicated interest in one or more bariatric surgical procedures, 30 (30.61%) people indicated interest in one or more body-contouring procedures, 21 (21.43%) listed breast-related surgical procedures, 14 (14.29%) listed gynecologic surgical procedures, and 8 (8.16%) listed general surgery procedures. Afterwards, 21 (21.43%) patients came in for a consultation and booked procedures. Additionally, several patients wrote unsolicited 5-star reviews online which explicitly endorsed that they chose the physician due to the freely available pricing.

Conclusions

The interactive pricing application embedded within the physician's webpage is a major customer service and marketing opportunity, facilitating convenient, clear access of patients to expected procedure costs.