I’ve posted before about a concept called worldwide pricing (Google whatstheidea+worldwide pricing), applauding its emergence. Basically, thanks to the Internet, worldwide pricing allows anyone with a Web connection to shop the world to find the best prices. Healthcare, because it has been insulated by insurance companies and hasn’t yet supported digital patient records, is one place where shopping for best price has been nonexistent. That’s changing thanks to companies like Castlight, who just received a second round of funding.
Have you ever received a bill in the mail from a healthcare provider for a couple hundy saying your actual bill exceeded your overage? Who hasn’t? Imagine if you could have a read-out of every medical procedure and expense you’ve ever generated over your lifetime — from that first broken bone is 4th grade to your most recent blood test. Imagine also, being able to see next to that expense the nationalized average cost of that service. It would be an interesting exercise.
Price variability for medical procedures in the U.S. is all over the place. That’s going to change…and it’s a good thing. Companies like Castlight are seeing to it by employing a little search engine technology and the help from some medical partners like the Cleveland Clinic. As healthcare reform become more real (thank you voters and gov’t), we will start pairing information technology and healthcare record keeping in a way that will not only help U.S. GDP but improve patient outcomes. Worldwide pricing is coming to your local doctor. Stay tuned. Peace.