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Can We Really Cut the Confusion in Finding a Good Doctor?

By Rex Moore – Mar 2, 2014 at 8:15AM

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Choosing a doctor and estimating costs can be overwhelming -- here’s how UnitedHealth is helping.

UnitedHealth Group (UNH 0.20%) is using the power of data and connectivity to help consumers better understand their health-care options -- including seeing how good your potential doctor is. That's according to the company's chief consumer officer, Tom Paul.

Paul served on the panel of "The Empowered Consumer" at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show, exploring how digital health can deliver practical solutions and give consumers the power of knowledge and choice. In this video, he describes some of the ways UnitedHealth is making things easier for the consumer. Its Treatment Cost Estimator assists in the selection process of finding a good doctor, while the recently introduced myEasyBook allows consumers to make appointments with the selected provider, and even prepay.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Tom Paul: What's really important is the harnessing of data and information that we have, and then how you transform that into impactful, intuitive information for the consumer to make decisions on. I'll give you a couple of quick examples.

In the health care space, the transparency around pricing and that out-of-pocket expense has always been a bit confusing, so UnitedHealthcare has been working on treatment cost estimation for a number of years. That marries the value of quality that you get from a provider -- those quality-based outcomes metrics -- with the actual cost of care.

Through the Treatment Cost Estimator, you can actually find a doc, find how that doctor performs from a quality perspective -- how effective they are in that treatment plan -- and then what are the costs associated with it. It's tightly integrated with your benefit, so it's your true out-of-pocket cost, as it relates to your benefit.

Now we've taken that one step further. We've just introduced myEasyBook, which allows you to get into that same environment, but now in an online marketplace, so you can actually purchase an appointment tomorrow, from a physician, dentist, ophthalmologist. You can book that appointment, you can evaluate the quality of the care that is associated with that doctor, but then also prepay for it.

It also benefits the provider, because the provider had an open spot. They just now filled that spot, so it's good for them as well, and they've got a guaranteed payment because it allows you to prepay, as a consumer.

Rex Moore has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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