We love getting recognition. A new study, Help Yourself: The Rise of Online Heath Marketplaces, is a survey of several sites — including clearhealthcosts.com — that provide consumer health care information.
Author Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, the well-known architect of Think-Health and the Health Populi blog, notes something that’s been on our radar for a long time: about half of U.S. adults are interested in using online shopping tools, according to a recent Deloitte survey. With the rise of e-commerce, it’s only natural that consumers also want to comparison shop for Botox, vasectomies and sleep studies.
Also, she notes, “trust is a key factor for health engagement,” especially as traditional players — insurers, employers, providers, the government — aren’t always trusted as intermediaries.
The study, for the California HealthCare Foundation, reveals a range of online services for consumers searching for information. Some are like us, collecting consumer price information; some are bringing providers and patients together, and encouraging them to bargain over prices. Enurgi, acquired by Univita Health in 2009, allowed patients and families to search for home health care providers. ZocDoc lets consumers make quick online doctor’s appointments. We’re there as one of several representatives of the transparency ecosystem.
While much of the traditional health care industry has been slow to incorporate transparency and e-commerce concepts, there is is a big demand. And it’s only getting bigger.