Targeted at employers and their employees, myEasyBook is designed to help consumers with high-deductible health plans save 30% or more when picking a provider
It is rare for a national health insurance company to use the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to unveil a new online healthcare service, but that’s exactly what UnitedHealthcare Group (NYSE: UNH) did. On January 7, it took the wraps off its new myEasyBook healthcare shopping service.
Clinical laboratory managers and pathologists should take note of this development. It is one more example of how prominent healthcare companies want to help consumers shop for healthcare providers by providing information about quality and price in an easy-to-use format. Every medical laboratory should be thinking about when and how it wants to make its quality information and lab test pricing readily available to consumers.
Designed to Help Consumers Find High Quality, Low Cost Providers
UnitedHealth designed myEasyBook specifically to help consumers with high-deductible health plans shop for quality healthcare services and save money, according to a press release issued by the company. It is an online healthcare shopping service.
“This innovative service helps people find quality local healthcare providers more efficiently and at their convenience, delivering value to both patients and providers through a simple, personalized experience,” declared Tom Paul, Chief Consumer Officer at UnitedHealthcare. “Consumers are gaining a convenient tool to help them access affordable care at transparent prices, while medical professionals are able to attract new patients and fill any gaps in their daily schedules,” he added.
myEasyBook Saves Consumers with High-Deductible Plans 30% or More
myEasyBook has several features, each designed to make it easier for a consumer to access healthcare services. This service:
- Enables patients to go online to schedule appointments with healthcare providers, including same-day and next-day services;
- Enables comparison of different providers in multiple specialties and can often help the patient save 30% or more off the standard out-of-pocket costs;
- Allows patients to schedule doctor visits, medical laboratory and imaging tests, physical and occupational therapy, as well as dental, vision and massage therapy appointments.
- Consumers can also use this service to track and manage their healthcare expenses.
The Search Feature Idenitifies Providers by Location, Specialty and Cost
Search features programmed into myEasyBook allow plan members to search by specialty, location, appointment date, and cost for service. myEasyBook provides a list of local healthcare professionals, along with savings expected and the patient’s share of costs. Patients pay their portion of the bill upfront when they make the appointment. Payment options include debit and credit cards or direct withdrawal from a bank account.
myEasyBook Helps Providers Fill Gaps in Their Appointment Schedules
The myEasyBook application directly benefits providers. It helps them attract new patients and fill gaps in their daily patient schedules. This is an attractive benefit for providers, because payment in advance helps slash administrative and billing expenses, noted the UnitedHealthcare press release.
“myEasyBook has helped our practice and the patients we serve, making care more accessible, convenient and affordable,” stated Nathan L. Anspach, MA, FACHE. “This new service is helping make it easier for patients to connect with healthcare providers, which can help improve health outcomes and make the health system more efficient.”
Anspach was quoted in the UnitedHealthcare press release. He is Senior Vice President and CEO of Physician Network Development & Accountable Care at the John C. Lincoln Health Network in Scottsdale, Arizona.
UnitedHealthcare piloted the myEasyBook application last year in Phoenix. It will launch it in Denver and Dallas during the first quarter of 2014, with plans to add additional markets throughout the year, noted the press release. During the pilot, 37% of users had booked appointments within the first two days, and 50% of users utilized the service more than once.
myEasyBook Presents Business Opportunity for Medical Laboratories
It can be expected that myEasyBook provides medical laboratories in the UnitedHealth provider network with an opportunity to book appointments for patient service centers. That would help maintain a steady flow of patients. Best of all, patients pay their share of the cost for clinical laboratory tests upfront, while using myEasyBook. This increases the clinical laboratory’s revenue while reducing both billing costs and collection issues.
-by Patricia Kirk