There are times when consumers perceive that the price they pay for healthcare directly reflects the quality of healthcare they receive. However, in today’s healthcare market, that may not be entirely true. This is because the healthcare market is very competitive. Healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, insurance providers, and other healthcare specialists are aware of the power of the consumer to choose (Hibbard, 2004). So, this drives price in many ways because it is known that consumers are comparing and they will choose what is best for them and their families, and this reflects the healthcare market through consumer demand (Arnold, 2007).
Arnold (2007) also proposes that consumer demand basically drives quality of care, as well as price, because consumers are engaged in the healthcare process. Consumers demand better quality of services when they are informed and are able to make wise choices concerning their care and that for their families, and this reflects in what they are willing to pay for these services. Consumers are also empowered to self-manage much of their care, and this also affects price in the market because consumers are no longer running to doctors and emergency rooms for things they can do with self-care measures, such as with over-the-counter treatments and medications.
Regarding measuring quality in healthcare, performance monitoring is used. Healthcare providers meet certain quality standards put forth by governing bodies in the healthcare arena, such as federal government regulatory departments, the National Committee for Quality Assurance or the Foundation in Accountability. Quality must be measured through implemented performance measuring systems. This is includes quality assurance and risk assessment and management plans (Measuring and Improving Quality of Care, 2000).
Measuring and Improving Quality of Care. (2000). AHA/ACC Conference Proceedings (pp. 1483-1493). Circulation. Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/101/12/1483.full
Arnold, S. B. (2007, October). Improving Quality Health Care: The Role of Consumer Engagement. Retrieved from Academy Health: http://www.academyhealth.org/files/issues/ConsumerEngagement.pdf
Hibbard, J. H. (2004, June). New Roles for Patients and Consumers in Assuring High Quality Care. Virtual Mentor, 6(6).