Access to surgery with clear cost, convenience, and choice

Guest post from Arnon Krongrad, MD, CEO of Allevion creator of Surgeo.com.

Suppose you have a uric acid stone in your ureter. This can be treated with endoscopic surgery or oral medication. The former requires anesthesia and acts quickly. The latter requires no anesthesia and acts slowly. One treatment may be better for if you need quick resolution or to avoid anesthesia. Choice matters to you as you take care of your health. This is a real issue as choice contracts and cost goes up.

It’s not enough to have choices. You also have to know, compare, and gain access to these choices. And this is where the complexities for patients so often seem to arise. This is why surgeons – supported by their associated facilities and be they in solo practice, group practice, or academic practice – are working together to develop a market of surgery packages that expands choice and simplifies access. The premise is that every patient deserves quality, convenience, and choice. The quality comes from peer credentialed surgeons. The simplicity comes from how they are delivered. Here is how it works:

  • Define a useful package. The idea here is to deliver a suite of goods and services that patients will need. For example, a knee replacement package includes the surgeon, facility, anesthesia, implant, and physical therapy.
  • Simplify administration. A single, flat, transparent cost and invoice for the primary and ancillary procedures. For example, a gastric sleeve surgery package includes ancillary procedures such as hiatus hernia repair.
  • Minimize financial surprises. Add complications protection whenever possible. For example, a laparoscopic hysterectomy package covers up to $25,000 for up to a year post-operatively in the event of infection and deep vein thrombosis.
  • Offer lots of choices. Give the people choices in places other than Sheboygan and surgeons who are different. For example, penile implant surgery choices should stretch from New York to Arizona. Surgeons should be young, old, male, female, and so on, because people have preferences.
  • Make access convenient. Put all of it online on Surgeo® surgery package market place so the people can shop from their iPads in their kitchens whenever they want. Include comparison tools, consultation requests, and call center support.

The surgeon network can benefit patients, employers, and third-party payers. It can enable surgeons to participate in meaningful healthcare reform and primary doctors to efficiently review choices with their patients. The surgery packages can help everyone to quickly access non-covered benefits, such as vision correction. They can also help with covered benefits, such as prostate cancer surgery, by simplifying administration and generating value. The packages can be integrated into bundled network tiers and used to fortify voluntary benefits for employees.

Choice is at the heart of healthcare. Access is what allows choice to matter.

Arnon Krongrad, MD is Chief Executive Officer of Allevion, Inc., a healthcare logistics company that makes and markets surgery packages. Its Surgeo online marketplace enables customers to take control of their surgery shopping and sort choices by surgeon, price, and location.

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