The US-based agency, Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has begun to put pressure on hospitals to be more open in the pricing of the procedures and services they offer, Healthcare Dive reports.
The agency revealed a rule on the Inpatient Prospective Payment System which required hospitals to publish their standard charges online as well as keeping the information up to date at least once a year.
In the notice, CMS confirmed that it is searching for a company experienced in looking after personally identifiable information and protected health data, in addition to retaining healthcare supplier details.
It is anticipated that potential contractors should have the capabilities to utilise healthcare price comparison data and bid or sell data for healthcare procedures.
The notice continued: “Responding organizations should have specific experience supporting provider/supplier pricing and transparency efforts in the healthcare exchange and/or commercial insurer health care market who currently offer support for the development and maintenance of web-based price comparison tools, bidding systems, and applications.”
It is thought that depending on the responses, CMS could produce a formal request for proposals for a company to create an online comparative pricing tool.
The news comes following a study published in Health Affairs, where it was discovered that just 13% of respondents responsible for cost-sharing in their last healthcare encounter looked for cost information before obtaining care, in addition to only 3% comparing the price of alternative providers.