Higher prices don't mean better healthcare, medical supplies

You know how at Discount Medical Supplies low prices go hand in hand with quality medical supplies? When it comes to healthcare it is the other way around, according to a survey conducted University of California, San Francisco researchers. Most Americans (58%-71%) did not think that price and quality are related, though a substantial minority did perceive a relationship (21%-24%) or were not sure whether there was one (8%-16%). “It’s really important to know how people are perceiving price and quality,” lead author Kathryn Phillips said. “If you don’t know how they perceive price and quality then we don’t know how they will use price information.”

However, the answers varied depended on how the question was presented. For instance, 71% said higher price is not a sign of better care, but 40% thought a doctor who charges less than his or her colleagues might be providing lower-quality services. Of course that’s not necessarily the case – take DMS, for instance; it has the guaranteed lowest prices on most medical supplies, but it’s still at the forefront of medical supply stores in terms of quality and service. “For other consumer goods there is this relationship so people assumed this was true for healthcare,” Phillips told Reuters. “That suggests we need to think about how we describe things to consumers in order to help them understand what’s being asked.”

Additionally, 21 to 24% of respondents thought there was an association between healthcare cost and quality, while 8% to 16% percent were unsure. Participants who had compared healthcare prices before were more likely to perceive a link between price and quality than those who hadn't. The researchers hope that these findings might help gain a better understanding of how to present rice and quality information in a consumer-friendly manner. “It’s one thing to say you would use information, but we need to know what people actually do,” Phillips said.

She added that further research should focus on the way consumers behave based on the available information on healthcare costs and quality. “Many organizations are developing health care price information tools for consumers,” the authors wrote in the study published in Health Affairs. “However, consumers may avoid low-price care if they perceive price to be associated with quality.” These consumers might just be missing out on a pretty good deal, such as those found on medical supplies at DMS.

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