Harvard medical professor has “terrible” experience trying to find healthcare prices online

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Ateev Mehrotra, MD, an associate professor of healthcare policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School and a hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, shopped online for prices for a procedure to remove a stye from his daughter’s eye. As a physician who does research for price transparency, he thought he would have an easy time of it. In his words, it went “terribly.”[1]

In his article for STAT, Dr. Mehrotra explains the exasperation and frustration he had for a month trying to figure out how much his daughter’s procedure would cost.[2] Frustrating experiences such as:

  1. His family’s health plan price transparency page was difficult to find
  2. The procedure, called a “chalazion” is not common so it wasn’t listed on the health plan’s website
  3. The health plan required a written cost request – and 24 days later – gave only an estimate
  4. Other ophthalmologists said they would give a price quote only after evaluating his daughter for over $200 per visit
  5. One month into their price-shopping effort, all Dr. Mehrotra’s family knew was that the ophthalmologist’s fee would be in the $452 to $1,007 range, and the total surgery would cost much more.

These are the types of disastrous results that family after family, day after day, experience in our current healthcare model. Dr. Mehrotra writes that, “In the end, it cost us $1,443, including $556 for the ophthalmologist and $887 for the anesthesiologist and hospital. Despite the challenges, we recognize that we were fortunate — our daughter’s surgery went well and we could afford this unbudgeted expense. Others aren’t so fortunate.”[3]

He is sadly correct. Most families aren’t fortunate enough to be able to afford non budgeted medical expenses.

Dr. Mehrotra suggests that providers implement the following to improve the process:[4]

  1. Bundle payments to hospitals and surgery centers to simplify billing.
  2. Require healthcare providers to give cost estimates as soon as a procedure is recommended.
  3. Make it easier to access price data.
  4. Help patients profile primary care physicians based on the prices of tests they order and specialists they recommend patients to.

We at HealthQRS agree with Dr. Mehrotra. And we have the platform to provide each one of his suggestions easily and cost-effectively. In fact, we can do better than estimates. Our e-commerce medical marketplace allows people to shop online for services and procedures, see them listed, with exact costs and out-of-pocket expenses so that consumers can select, schedule and pay for services upfront. Our marketplace provides consumers and employees with an experience like a Travelocity or Expedia. It’s easy-to-use and consumers know exactly what their out-of-pocket expenses will be. They can make selections based on quality and price.

HealthQRS has created an e-commerce medical marketplace that allows employees to shop, schedule and pay for procedures and services from their smartphones, tablets or computers. When consumers use our platform, they can instantly access their network, see a list of procedures and providers in order of least to most expensive, select a location, schedule the appointment and pay for it all from the app. Our built-in navigation can send consumers to telehealth services as well. In addition, our software is enabled for voice recognition and can easily be integrated to allow those with Echo devices to ask Alexis to book their appointments.

What really makes HealthQRS stand out from everyone else is our platform. We have put together over 30 modules all working together to provide a holistic, seamless, total experience for the consumer from start to finish. We combine navigation, the capability to make an appointment, referral management (if needed), payment management and so much more than we can list here. HealthQRS has developed the only complete e-commerce medical marketplace platform on the market.

Developing a solution of this magnitude didn’t happen overnight. We started with the consumer experience in mind and spent years drawing on the knowledge of best-of-breed experts to perfect, fine tune and put together this complicated, yet complete solution for medical e-commerce.

We’ve been told we are ahead of our time. But the time has come, and now is the perfect moment to provide an easy-to-use shopping experience in the healthcare setting. We invite you to learn more about HealthQRS and our e-commerce medical marketplace. We have over 12 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for consumers and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We can have providers, payers or facilities set up in a matter of weeks at the point-of-service and online. And because we are a software as a service (SaaS), our customers don’t incur any capital expenses, only a low monthly fee.

Why not  contact us right now for more information or click here to schedule a demo? Or click here for a quick, 6-minute video about our e-commerce strategy.


[1] Ateev Mehrotra, “I’m the perfect person to price shop for an operation. But the process went terribly,” STAT, Sept. 14, 2017, https://www.statnews.com/2017/09/14/price-shop-operation-health-care/

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

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