“The best care anywhere. If you come here first you will often have a better outcome.”
These are some of the claims contained in medical advertising. Are they true, who knows, they are marketing tools to get you to use one hospital or another. What is the purpose of such advertising, is it to raise the quality of your health care? That is doubtful; rather the intent is to raise the income of a facility.
If you want a good doctor, how do you find one? Well, more often than not it is the referral by another doctor or a friend or relative. Do they have good data to support their suggestion, no they do not. Is the billboard advertisement telling you one health plan or the other has better doctors any more reliable? No it isn’t’ and there is no good source to determine the quality of the doctor who is treating you. In addition, beyond the quality of health care there is no way to determine how efficient the doctors operation (small business) is or if you are getting value for your money.
More often than not if a doctor does not participate in a health plan or Medicare it means one thing, it means he charges high fees. Does a high fee mean that the doctor provides higher quality care, no it does not. However, isn’t it interesting that even if this were true, why should a higher quality doctor be paid more and why don’t all doctors provide similar quality care? Don’t we expect all doctors to provide high quality health care? In reality, a high fee doctor may simply mean he operates with higher costs, perhaps an inefficient office operation and in some case because quality is not so good and his malpractice insurance costs are high.
There is absolutely no reason for hospitals, pharmacy companies or physicians to advertise their services. There is no reason to artificially increase demand health care. However, there is a critical need for quantitative, quality data that is available in simple terms for anyone to access. Let all health care providers compete on quality first and cost second.