PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Employee healthcare costs continue to rise, with the average insurance premium contribution in some locations expected to grow 8.2 percent over the next year. To slow the growth of healthcare costs, employers are looking for ways to better educate employees about healthcare costs and quality options so that they can make more informed care decisions. In fact, according to a January 2013 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study, consumers are feeling the burden of rising out-of-pocket health care costs, and want to take a more proactive role in shopping for health care.
Today, an award-winning, cutting edge, interactive healthcare transparency solution is being formally launched to health insurers nationwide. HealthSparq is a hosted- software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform with integrated online applications that deliver critical cost and quality information to consumers, turning patients into healthcare shoppers. The HealthSparq platform includes:
- Patient Reviews: Patients can share and view ratings and comments about specific providers based on actual visits. Providers can also post responses to the comments. Review categories include appointment, communication, provider and facility.
- Treatment Cost Estimator: Provides detailed care options and out-of-pocket cost ranges and comparisons for common treatments and conditions.
- Provider Search: Similar to online shopping, this tool enables consumers to quickly search for providers by a variety of criteria and view details relevant to decision making.
- Enhanced Provider Profiles: Providers use this tool to promote their services, including philosophy of care, area of expertise, patient demographics, extended office hours, photos, website URLs and whether they are accepting new patients.
- My Community: An award-winning online social media forum that allows patients, providers and experts to discuss health topics and foster support in achieving wellness goals.
"Our platform offers invaluable data about the cost of medical procedures. Our provider search tool helps health plan members assess their medical provider visit and share it with other members," said HealthSparq President Scott Decker. "Additionally, healthcare providers have access to the platform so that they can track their performance and mitigate patient concerns. It's a win-win for patients, providers, employers and insurers, all rolled into one."17 health insurers are currently using products provided by HealthSparq's healthcare transparency platform to bring clear healthcare information to 25 million consumers today. As a result, medical providers are rewarded for quality enhancements to their care, and patients are being armed with the information they need to manage their own healthcare by being provided the tools they need to make more informed decisions.