The impact of price transparency for surgical services

Ambar Mehta, Tim Xu, Ge Bai, Kristy L. Hawley, Martin A. Makary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-608
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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