As a physician interested in health policy and economics, I struggled with how best to use this type of data. If the goal is to educate and inform our consumers and policy makers, then I believe that the only way to make healthcare pricing a priority is to select the most common services, and provide stock photos of those common scenes where individuals can be directed toward highlighting a specific area and learn about the huge range of costs for that specific service. Many patients already recognize the growing costs of healthcare as they are forced to select higher and higher deductible plans, however many do not quite grasp the magnitude of charges and huge variability between providers and insurers. By providing a common scene for consumers and policy makers to interact with, it makes it easier to understand the breakdown. Then after being able to look through these interactive scenes, they can click on each one to learn more about the components of healthcare costs and spending in our state. I believe that the most important use of this data is to create something that will draw a user in then allow them to decide whether they wish to delve deeper into the information. I believe that it's important to provide background into this information and that a video or educational module should be available to inform viewers of some of the various complexities that go into the costs and variability.
In order to show my idea, I've created a Powerpoint presentation that shows what this might look like - there are magnifying glasses where a user can highlight and learn more about that portion of care. The three items that were selected were common things found in the dataset - complete blood count (CBC), X-ray of entire spine, and vaginal delivery including pre- and post-delivery care. Ranges of service encounter costs are based on what was provided in the dataset (Service Encounter Cost = TotalCost_All /NumberServices_All ).
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