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People don’t like surprises, especially regarding healthcare. As a rule, patients want to know the cost of services before actually visiting a doctor.
Currently, about 53% of medical services consumers use cost estimation apps. It seems logical that people value price transparency in healthcare since it helps them feel more prepared and knowledgeable.
In such circumstances, healthcare price-transparency platform development is particularly relevant. Yet, publishing a price list online is not enough.
Since medical services are individual, healthcare facilities should make every effort to guarantee that the consumer can receive as detailed and personalized information as possible.
Today we’ll tell you how to build a healthcare cost-transparency solution. Softermii will share key features and technologies that will make your platform effective for patients and healthcare vendors.
When sharing this information, our SaaS company will rely on our seven years’ experience in healthcare development. Softermii has created many successful software solutions, including MediConnect, Locum App, and HIPAA Telmed.
Market Size of Price Transparency in U.S. Healthcare
IIt is unlikely someone will accept service without knowing its price upfront. The opposite is true if we talk about the healthcare industry. Since medical services are necessary, American patients are ready to spend, even without knowing how much money they have to take out of their pockets.
This attitude changed dramatically after the U.S. introduced new legislation on pricing transparency. Now that patients know the cost of medical services, they have become more demanding and sensitive to their healthcare expenses. Additionally, they want to be able to evaluate and compare various medical providers before making a decision.
All this became the reason for the development of price transparency in healthcare. Just consider the following facts:
- About 60% of healthcare consumers say they prefer a hospital that publishes its prices online. Healthcare facilities that fail to comply will suffer as a result.
- 62% of healthcare systems executives believe that transparency and interoperability will improve the quality and coordination of medical care. The reason for this, in particular, is easier and more efficient data exchange.
Here’s what the price transparency rule in U.S. healthcare will also affect:
Even though patients and healthcare providers benefit from hospital pricing transparency, implementing such an initiative still causes difficulties.
For example, after adopting the price transparency rule on January 1, 2021, every second health executive was not ready to implement such measures in his medical institution. The main obstacles to this are:
- Focus on solving the consequences of the pandemic (57% of respondents agree with that).
- Difficulties associated with the availability of various unrelated software platforms (53% of respondents consider this a challenge).
- Lack of clear industry standards (50% of respondents claim this).
(Data taken from Deloitte survey)
Although building healthcare price transparency solutions requires significant effort, it is still a reasonable initiative.
Benefits of Healthcare Price-Transparency Solutions for Patients and Providers
Price transparency is mandatory for U.S. healthcare institutions starting from January 1, 2021. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has implemented two rules: hospital price transparency and health insurance transparency. What does this mean for healthcare providers?
The price transparency rule requires compliance with the following requirements:
- Hospitals must provide clear information about the prices of goods and services online. It can be done in two ways: in the form of a machine-readable price list or a display of services that can be immediately purchased online.
- Healthcare providers and insurers must agree on the fees and publish at least 300 shoppable medical services online.
- Healthcare vendors must update their price list at least every year.
Faced with billing regulations and unclear insurance requirements, healthcare vendors struggle to provide patients with transparent pricing. It is a problem for both providers and patients.
The ideal solution for patients and healthcare institutions is reliance on technology. That is, it is healthcare price-transparency system development. Just look at the benefits each of the parties will get.
Benefits for Healthcare Consumers
First, implementing a pricing transparency policy will enable patients to find medical services at a price that suits them most.
Furthermore, adding information beyond the price list is not constrained by the new rules. Healthcare providers can provide a detailed description of each service, backed up by quality evidence. This way, patients can access the best prices and top-notch services.
Benefits for Healthcare Providers
The price transparency rule has advantages for healthcare providers as well.
First, it is an opportunity to remain competitive. Now more and more patients rely on technology, including various hospital applications. Therefore, healthcare price-transparency tools development will distinguish the provider in the market and satisfy consumers’ growing interest in the cost of medical care.
Secondly, by implementing a price transparency policy, healthcare providers can get the loyalty and trust of patients. When the consumer knows each service and does not encounter any pitfalls, he will return to the medical institution that provided him with all the relevant information.
What to Consider Before Developing Healthcare Price-Transparency Tool?
Before creating a mobile application or website where users can compare prices for medical services, you need to consider some requirements.
We advise you to put the healthcare consumer at the center of medical product development. That is, you should carefully consider what the typical user journey of your platform will be. Consumer behavior is also worth studying to develop effective pricing strategies.
Since you plan to create a hospital price-transparency platform, it must meet the requirements for the protection of user data. And patients’ private information safety is critical in the medical field. In the U.S., data security is governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Learn more about developing HIPAA-compliant healthcare pricing software in our recent article.
Compliances to Consider in Price-Transparency Platform for Healthcare
Let’s discuss the Hospital Price Transparency rule. How can your software for transparent pricing in healthcare meet these requirements?
- Your platform should display clear and accessible price information for 300 medical services.
- Information about the cost of services should be freely available on your platform. The patient does not need to register on your portal or provide any personal health data to view it.
- The price list on your platform must be in the form of a machine-readable file.
Must-Have Features for Healthcare Price-Transparency Platform
Now let’s see which features are mandatory to build a price-transparency tool for hospitals. We have selected essential functionalities:
Although the price list should be publicly available, adding a registration feature to your platform is a good idea. In this way, the user can create a personal account and, for example, buy medical services directly in your app.
This feature will also be useful for your patients. Here, they’ll review recent medical services purchases, make new ones, and provide relevant information about themselves to help personalize their experience on your platform.
This feature will present helpful information to your users through accessible charts and graphs.
For example, it can be statistics on the costs of medical services in a hospital.
Search and Filters
A clear search with advanced filters is a must for a price-transparency platform. Here, users can search for services by title or choose the most suitable price range.
If your goal is to create a platform not for a single hospital but an aggregator of various healthcare institutions, then it would be a good idea to add a search by zip code.
Panel on Prices and Quality
This feature separates price-transparency platforms from other healthcare apps. Let it clearly and easily display the prices of services and their detailed descriptions. Information about medical suppliers should be as transparent as possible.
Feedback and Reviews
This feature will help your users decide on the choice of a medical provider. Therefore, feedback and reviews from other patients will be beneficial.
In addition to viewing prices for services, you can enable users to pay for them immediately on your platform. To do this, add several payment options to your application.
Additional features may include audio and video communication and appointment scheduling. It’s, in case, you want to make your platform more versatile with doctor appointment app capabilities.
Healthcare Price-Transparency Platform Development Process
Consider what healthcare price-transparency tool development takes. For your convenience, we divided the dev process into several stages.
Stage 1. Do Market Research
At this stage, you need to conduct a thorough market analysis. Your business analysts study competitors and look at their strengths and weaknesses. Here you also define the goals of your platform and the potential limitations it may face.
Stage 2. Define Your Target Audience
Next, you need to decide on the end-user of your platform. It will help if you determine your typical customer’s age, gender, average income, and place of residence.
Stage 3. Take Care of UI/UX Design
Now, your designers join the process of healthcare price-transparency system development. They study your user journey to ensure a clear UX, plus they work on creating a simple and consistent user interface.
Stage 4. Define Features
At this stage, you need to decide on the main functionality of your platform. We talked about the main features above. If you want to add some extra functionality, decide on the features following your business needs.
Stage 5. Develop an MVP
Here, your developers create a minimum viable product. It is the basic version of your platform you can show your end-users.
Stage 6. Launch and Collect Feedback
After you have developed a price-transparency platform MVP, you can launch the product on the market. At this stage, your team collects feedback from early users, analyzes it, and suggests improvements for your platform.
Healthcare Price-Transparency Platform Tech Stack
You cannot create your product without using several technologies. Therefore, you should decide on a programming language, frameworks, etc., before starting development.
We offer you a look at the technology stack typical of price-transparency platforms.
- Frontend development: Angular or ReactJS.
- Backend development: Node.js, Python, or PHP.
- Database development: Postgres, MySQL, or MongoDB.
- Mobile development: Kotlin and Java for Android, Swift, Objective-C for iOS, and Flutter for cross-platform apps.
- Cloud development: Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
- Payment integration: PayPal or Stripe.
- Map integration: Google Maps API or CoreLocation.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Healthcare Cost-Transparency Solution?
Now it’s time to estimate the healthcare price-transparency platform development cost. The cost of healthcare price-transparency platform development may vary depending on several factors:
- number of features;
- tech stack;
- team composition;
- third-party API integrations;
- deadlines, etc.
The cost of developing such an app is negligible when you think about how many people are likely to use it in the months and years to come. Just as in many other fields, if this is something that you neglect to do, you're going to be left behind.
These are specific stages in the healthcare price-transparency platform development:
Discovery phase, estimation & UI/UX design
Time: 280 hours
Cost: $8 400
During the research stage, our business analysts research the market, explore customers' expectations and evaluate industry demands. All information obtained by our business analysts serves as the baseline to estimate the preliminary budget of the project to agree with our clients.
When starting creating UI of the application and UX prototypes, we can assess how well the chosen technology stack, features, and overall aesthetics will meet the client's expectations. After all, we agree with the client on usability and screen design features and move on to the core app development.
Time: 640 hours
Cost: $25 600
During the core development phase, our development team uses the previously chosen tech stack to start building an early version of a fully-fledged product.
Testing & Launch
Time: 240 hours
Cost: $6 480
The testing phase is especially important for collecting user feedback and improving the functionality of the application to make it more user-friendly and to ensure that the product functions correctly.
After QA specialists complete their work and stress testing, unit testing, and security testing, and all application enhancements have been implemented, your application is finally ready to go to market. It also requires post-release support to add new features and stay ahead of the competition.
Writing technical documentation
Time: 40 hours
Cost: $1 600
This step is necessary to create a single document that includes all the
information and instructions for your product.
Let's summarize our considerations in a summary table below.
Estimation, Research & UI/UX design
Creating technical documentation
1 200 hours (5 month)
Note, that these are only approximate calculations of healthcare price-transparency MVP development cost. For more precise estimates, contact us directly.
The law regulating price transparency was introduced relatively recently, so companies need technological solutions that will help them and their patients. Therefore, be sure that healthcare price-transparency platform development will soon become a real trend in the medical field.
As you could learn from our article, building healthcare price transparency solutions for hospitals is a meticulous process that requires a lot of time and effort. Here you need to take care of compliance with regulatory requirements, choose functionality and technologies, and turn all this into reality.
Selecting a reliable vendor for healthcare price-transparency platform development is yet another challenge.
Be sure to find out if he has previous experience creating products for the medical field. We at Softermii definitely do. So, everything that separates you from a successful product is just one email.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to create a healthcare price-transparency platform?
The amount of time it takes to build a healthcare cost-transparency solution will depend on the complexity of its implementation and the size of your team. Yet, with Softermii’s support, you can get a ready-to-launch product in as little as six months.
How to monetize healthcare price transparency tools?
You can use one of the popular monetization models for your medical transparent pricing software. It may be in-app advertising, subscriptions, freemium, or developing a paid platform right away.
How to build a price-transparency tool for hospitals?
To create a medical pricing transparency platform, you must go through several main steps. Here they are:
- Doing market research and analysis
- Studying your target audience
- Creating UI/UX design
- The defining platform features
- Developing an MVP
- Integrate with current EHR/EMR
- Launching the platform
What are the main features of healthcare price-transparency platforms?
Your price transparency solution for healthcare basic functionality should include registration, profile screen, dashboard, search and filters, the panel on prices and quality, feedback and reviews, and payment options.
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