Healthcare Quality and Cost Transparency Using Web-Based Tools

Healthcare Quality and Cost Transparency Using Web-Based Tools

Jiao Ma (Saint Louis University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-016-5.ch011
OnDemand PDF Download:


This chapter explores the use of Web sites to provide patients with understandable information about the quality and price of healthcare (healthcare transparency). Our first objective is to discuss patients’ perceptions of empowerment and need for quality and cost information when choosing medical providers and facilities for healthcare procedures. To meet this objective, we address issues of patient awareness of sources of healthcare quality and cost information, perceived responsibility for managing healthcare costs, and knowledge of appropriate actions to exercise choice of providers. Our second objective is to investigate the potential of Web-based tools, which provide healthcare quality and cost information, to facilitate patients’ decision-making processes regarding choice of provider for healthcare services, particularly common outpatient procedures. To meet this second objective, we use insights from usercentered design procedures (e.g., focus groups and in-depth interviews) associated with the development of a healthcare transparency Web-based tool.
Chapter Preview


On May 10, 2006, Carolyn Clancy, M.D., Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, testified before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress outlining the commitment of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide Americans with understandable information about the quality and price of healthcare. This vision has four objectives:

  • Promote quality transparency;

  • Promote price transparency;

  • Facilitate the greater use of health information technology; and

  • Transform healthcare so its incentives support a consumer-oriented healthcare system.

The synergy of these objectives is an informed and empowered healthcare consumer with a panoramic view of his/her healthcare situation.

The Internet has done much to facilitate this view by providing an ever-expanding bounty of information about health prevention and maintenance; however issues such as the general understandability and accuracy of this information still remain. Interactive tools and features that provide communication channels (e.g., peer support groups) and personalized information are increasingly common supplements to content pages. Monitoring devices have also been an area of great advancement and promise.

It is evident that patients have an appetite for prescriptive and preventative healthcare information and tools. However, does this need also exist for healthcare cost and quality transparency? The first objective of this chapter is to better understand patients’ perceptions of empowerment and need for procedure quality and cost information when choosing medical providers and facilities. The second objective of the chapter is to address the potential of Web-based tools to facilitate and enable the patients’ decision-making processes. To meet these goals, questions of interest include:

  • Do patients perceive quality and cost information as important to their choice of healthcare provider?

  • Do patients feel empowered with quality and cost information to make decisions about where to have medical procedures (e.g., mammogram and bone density tests) or tests (e.g., spinal tap or allergy testing) performed?

  • Would a Web-based tool that provides quality and/or cost information be compatible with the patients’ decision-making processes?

  • What factors should be considered in designing a useful and usable Web-based tool to provide quality and/or cost information for patients?

We review existing literature, assessment of existing healthcare transparency Web applications, and insights from user-centered design techniques from an on-going study involving developing such a tool to reveal issues, controversies, and problems associated with healthcare quality and cost Web-based tools, and discuss solutions. We adapt the constructs from a Theoretical Compatibility Model (Karahanna, Agarwal, & Angst, 2006) to use as thematic dimensions to organize our presentation of Web-based quality and cost tool compatibility, as well as provide insight within the landscape of existing information systems research.



In America’s democratic consumer culture, consumers can easily obtain information about price and quality for most purchases using existing resources (e.g., mass media such as TV, print publications, Web sites) to assist with purchase decisions. A noted exception is healthcare where cost and quality information is still limited (Greenberg, 2006). In a consumer-driven system, healthcare buyers with financial incentives will demand quantitative and qualitative information on competing health plans, facility options, providers, and specific healthcare treatment. Plans and providers will be motivated to supply this information in order to manage cost and utilization as necessary to stay competitive.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Joseph Tan
E. Vance Wilson
Chapter 1
Juanita Dawson, Bengisu Tulu, Thomas A. Horan
This chapter provides a conceptual foundation by exploring the existing literature on traditional healthcare, patient-centered healthcare, and the... Sample PDF
Towards Patient-Centered Care: The Role of E-Health in Enabling Patient Access to Health Information
Chapter 2
Alejandro Mauro
This chapter introduces a series of techniques and tools useful for developing patient-centered e-health. As information technology (IT) is... Sample PDF
Patient-Centered E-Health Design
Chapter 3
Jan-Are K. Johnsen
In this chapter, we look at some fundamental aspects of communicating about ourselves and our health through technology. In particular, we examine... Sample PDF
Connecting with Ourselves and Others Online: Psychological Aspects of Online Health Communication
Chapter 4
Ebrahim Randeree
An increasing focus on e-health and a governmental push to improve healthcare quality while giving patients more control of their health data have... Sample PDF
Personal Health Records: Patients in Control
Chapter 5
Elaine A. Blechman
Newly disabled workers are often unemployed, uninsured, and indigent. They are in desperate need of Social Security OASDI monthly benefits, and the... Sample PDF
Disability Determinations and Personal Health Records
Chapter 6
E-Health Marketing  (pages 70-80)
Muhammad F. Walji, John A. Valenza, Jiajie Zhang
In this chapter, we review key concepts, using the marketing mix framework, to identify the needs of healthcare consumers, and the tools and... Sample PDF
E-Health Marketing
Chapter 7
Olli P. Järvinen
This chapter introduces the privacy management framework as a means of studying patient-centered e-health. The chapter raises some important issues... Sample PDF
Privacy Management of Patient-Centered E-Health
Chapter 8
Richard Klein
Patient-centered e-health (PCEH) offerings see the emergence of divergent, new third parties, through initiatives, including (a) medical content... Sample PDF
Trust in Patient-Centered E-Health
Chapter 9
John Powell, Natalie Armstrong
This chapter deals with the principles and practice of patient and public involvement in e-health research, and discusses some of the issues raised.... Sample PDF
Involving Patients and the Public in E-Health Research
Chapter 10
Stefano Forti, Barbara Purin, Claudio Eccher
This chapter presents a case study of using interaction design methods for exploring and testing usability and user experience of a Personal Health... Sample PDF
Using Interaction Design to Improve Usability of a PHR User Interface Based on Visual Elements
Chapter 11
Jiao Ma
This chapter explores the use of Web sites to provide patients with understandable information about the quality and price of healthcare (healthcare... Sample PDF
Healthcare Quality and Cost Transparency Using Web-Based Tools
Chapter 12
Ann L. Fruhling
This chapter is drawn from a comprehensive study that examined the effect Human-Computer Interaction usability factors had on rural residents’... Sample PDF
Perceptions of E-Health in Rural Communities
Chapter 13
Elizabeth Cummings, Stephen Chau, Paul Turner
This chapter explores how in developing patient-centred e-health systems it is possible to accommodate heterogeneous characteristics of end-users... Sample PDF
Assessing a Patient-Centered E-Health Approach to Chronic Disease Self-Management
Chapter 14
Michel J. Sassene
This chapter investigates asthmatics’ reasons for not adopting an e-health system for asthma selfmanagement. An understanding of these reasons is... Sample PDF
Incompatible Images: Asthmatics' Non-Use of an E-Health System for Asthma Self-Management
Chapter 15
Linda M. Gallant, Cynthia Irizarry, Gloria M. Boone
An extended version of the technology acceptance model (TAM) is applied to study hospital Web sites, one specific area of e-health. In a review of... Sample PDF
Exploring the Technology Adoption Needs of Patients Using E-Health
Chapter 16
E. Vance Wilson, Nancy K. Lankton
This chapter presents a new rational-objective (R-O) model of e-health use that accounts for effects of facilitating conditions as well as patients’... Sample PDF
Predicting Patients' Use of Provider-Delivered E-Health: The Role of Facilitating Conditions
About the Contributors