The Impact of Price Transparency for Surgical Services

Am Surg. 2018 Apr 1;84(4):604-608.


Increasing insurance deductibles have prompted some medical centers to initiate transparent pricing. However, the impact of price transparency (PT) on surgical volume, revenue, and patient satisfaction is unknown, along with the barriers to achieving PT. We identified ambulatory surgical centers in the Free Market Medical Association database that publicly list prices for surgical services online. Six of eight centers (75%) responded to our data collection inquiry. Among five centers that reported their patient volume and revenue after adopting PT, patient volume increased by a median of 50 per cent (range 10-200%) at one year. Four centers (80%) reported an increase in revenue by a median of 30 per cent (range 4-75%), whereas three centers (60%) experienced an increase in third-party administrator contracts with the average increase being seven new third-party administrator contracts (range = 2-12 contracts). Three centers (50%) reported a reduction in their administrative burden and five centers (83%) reported an increase in patient satisfaction and patient engagement after PT. The leading barrier reported to making prices transparent was discouragement from another practice, hospital, or insurance company. The findings of this preliminary study may help guide medical practices in designing and implementing PT strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / economics*
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / trends
  • Databases, Factual
  • Disclosure*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction / economics
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgicenters / economics*
  • Surgicenters / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgicenters / trends
  • United States