"Patients are assuming greater financial responsibility for their healthcare needs and in turn need information that will allow them to make informed healthcare decisions," the report states. "Price is not the only information needed to make these decisions, but it is an essential component."
'Unleash the Market'
One of the most powerful results of greater price transparency will be transforming many fields of medicine into market-driven service delivery models, according to the HFMA report.
"Certain areas of health care are becoming, or already are, more like a retail marketplace, including the market for elective procedures such as Lasik eye surgery or cosmetic surgery," the report states.
"Recent trends in consumer-driven and value-based insurance design are moving 'commodity services' such as lab work, imaging, and screening tests, as well as some procedures, more toward a retail model. And new payment models are potentially reshaping how care will be delivered and priced."
David Friend, who earned a graduate degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, a medical degree from the University of Connecticut and now works at accounting powerhouse BDO, has been advocating for market-based reforms in medicine for nearly four decades. In a phone interview he said price transparency and market-based reforms go hand-in-hand. "They're going to have to unleash the market."