Walgreens rolls out digital marketplace with 17 well-known providers | Healthcare Dive

Price transparency efforts are heating up, and Walgreens is eager to boost its brand as a go-to source for convenient, cost-conscious care. Walgreens said the platform’s providers will offer “sensible alternatives to more costly emergency room visits.”

Despite growing calls for transparency around healthcare prices, few websites offer information that can help consumers make informed choices about their care. In an analysis by Duke University researchers on availability of price information for four nonemergency medical procedures, just 21.9% of 1,346 price transparency sites were relevant to the particular intervention, 28.4% linked to individual providers or clinics, 7.4% offered quality information but not prices, 27.6% offered generic information and 17.4% provided unrelated information.

Only 17% of the sites included geographically relevant price estimates. In addition, most websites didn’t clarify whether the price quote referred to total cost or the consumer’s out-of-pocket cost.

Maryland is one of a handful of states trying to increase transparency around healthcare pricing. Last fall, the Maryland Health Care Commission launched a statewide campaign called Wear the Cost to let consumers compare costs of four common procedures: hip replacement, knee replacement, hysterectomy and vaginal delivery. The program was recently expanded to include price and quality data based on commercial insurer data from 2015 and 2016.

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Walgreens rolls out digital marketplace with 17 well-known providers | Healthcare Dive.