A year ago, I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime to join the leadership team at Care Experience. Instead of dipping my toe in the water, I jumped right in and spent the last year helping to bring to life products that change the way we all communicate with our care providers.
While professionally the Care Experience opportunity was rewarding, there was an opportunity cost in going from a large corporation to an entrepreneurial adventure: benefits. When I changed companies my health insurance changed and I faced a personal conundrum that the physician practice I had been with for the last thirty-plus years was no longer in-network.
My first visit with my newly appointed PCP failed to establish a sense of trust. She quickly flipped through my chart, failed to listen, or ask the right questions and provided a plan of care that didn’t meet my needs.
A few weeks after my initial visit I was in need of a prescription refill for a medication I have on hand as needed, which was not originally prescribed by the newly appointed PCP. I quickly realized I would most likely be required to schedule a visit, deal with explaining my history and reason for needing the medication requested. It was the last thing I wanted to do.
Feeling frustrated, I calculated the assumed dollars spent on a co-pay, what the prescription cost would be and my level of dissatisfaction and based on that information I decided to go back to my previous PCP knowing it wouldn’t be covered by insurance. I was ok with that, I wanted the best care from someone I trusted and I was willing to pay for it
Upon the visit with my long-time PCP I explained the situation and during our conversation she informed me of GoodRx, which is a website that allows you to select the medication you are prescribed and search the cash price of the medication by each pharmacy near you. Based on the price, we collectively made the decision on which pharmacy she was going to call in the prescription. In that moment, I was thankful for the suggestion she made and knew she was looking out for me.
It wasn’t until I went to the pharmacy to fill my prescription that I realized the actual impact of cost savings. The medication I had filled turned out to be $22.21 and the biggest shock was finding out that it would have been $156.00 without GoodRx. Had I gone to the PCP assigned by my payer, I could have ended up spending even more than what I spent paying cash to see my chosen PCP and my Rx.
My situation is not unique. Changes in jobs, employment or other circumstances are changing relationships between patients and their providers. Many patients don’t know what options they have, but there are tools like GoodRx and Healthcare Bluebook which are shining a light on fair prices in healthcare.
As the patient gets more educated, the emphasis is on the patient experience. I am not likely to recommend my new provider simply based on she didn’t take the time to listen to my needs and goals. Being a person with a chronic illness, my new PCP missed the opportunity to build a relationship and retain me for a long time. Whereas my original PCP took the extra time to understand my new situation and provided tools that could help, even though it was above and beyond what I needed or expected from them.
At Care Experience, we see trust and transparency as an opportunity to move the needle in your patient experience program. Click here to download our eBook on how pricing transparency will affect the next decade of innovation in the patient experience.