Physician rating platform Vitals has acquired price transparency service Compass Healthcare Advisers. This acquisition will combine Vitals' rating system with Compass Healthcare Advisers' price transparency system so that consumers can consider both options when choosing a provider.
Compass Healthcare Advisers offers their price transparency tool through health plans and employers. When members use Compass Healthcare Advisers' offering to save money, they receive monetary rewards from the program.
"Anytime you decide on making a purchase decision, which we’ve done a lot of analytics and breakdown on, you’re going to buy based on three factors: quality, cost, and availability," Vitals CEO Mitch Rothschild told MobiHealthNews. "Whether you’re buying an airline ticket or a car — how good is it, what’s the cost, and what’s the availability? We are trying to make the same three factors available for healthcare. We already solved the quality problem. You can go on Vitals or any of our sites and see which doctors are good, what patients think of them, all that kind of stuff. We've now solved for the cost side. As far as availability, we’re just starting to get into online appointments, seeing when doctors are available, and how long you have to wait before you see them, which we post now."
Rothschild explained that employees of Compass Healthcare Advisers will stay with the company and the company will continue to support its customer base, which is located in New Hampshire and Kentucky. But Vitals will also roll this product into its current offering for employers and health plans. While Vitals does offer a consumer-facing service, which Rothschild says is now used by more than 10 million people, he does not plan to offer the price transparency tool to that user base just yet.
What's special about Compass Healthcare Advisers, Rothschild said, is that the company offers monetary rewards to people who use the service to save money. He added that when users chose Compass Healthcare Advisers' service, they were 65 percent more likely to come back to the service the next year.
"If you buy a car in this country, you have about a 70 percent likelihood that you'll go online before you buy that car to check out ratings on the car, prices on the car, dealer inventory, things like that," he said. "That number for travel and restaurants is up north of 80 percent. So what the internet has done for all of us is it's made us data-driven web shoppers before we actually go out and buy something. That number for healthcare is 2 percent, so there’s a long way to go between 2 percent and 70 percent. Our mission is to deliver not only the transparency tools, but also the economic motivation that people are going to want to shop for buying a doctor or healthcare the same way they want to shop for buying a car or travel."
In June, Rothschild told MobiHealthNews the company is gearing up for an increased need for tools to help consumers find doctors that will be spurred by provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In January, the company estimates that 30 million new people will enter the paying healthcare system, some of whom will need to choose a physician for the first time in their life.
At the beginning of the year, Vitals partnered with DocASAP, maker of an online appointment scheduling platform for patients to include DocASAP’s appointment booking feature on its profiles of physicians who are DocASAP users. This was Vitals' fourth appointment booking partner.