Reverse Auction for MDs / Hospitals

auction.jpgIn healthcare, you sometimes hear people talk about waiting (at the pharmacy, for an appointment) while other people seem to get right in.  A lot of this has to do with geography (remember ‘healthcare is local’) but it also has to do with cycles.  For example, Mondays are always busier after the weekends.  [I have heard ERs are often busier during a full moon, but I don’t have research on that (and didn’t look).]

Certainly, another driver of healthcare costs are some of the large capital purchases at hospitals for imaging or other diagnostics.  If every hospital has to have the latest and greatest but they are only use 20% of the time, that isn’t an efficient use of capital across the healthcare system.  If you have to spread that cost for the equipment across 1/5th of the potential patients, it means you are overcharging by 5x.

Reverse auctions wouldn’t be easy, but BidRx pulled it off in pharmacy.  [I am not sure how successfully.]  The reverse auction model would be consumerism at its best.  The consumer would post their needs – a CAT scan, a PCP, a neurosurgeon, open heart surgery.  Physicians or hospitals would bid on their business based on the parameters – timing, price, etc.

In a theoretical sense, it would be interesting to test and see if it would work.  But, my objective was not to sit in the ivory tower, but to look at a model that would improve healthcare capital efficiency by better utilizing fixed costs.  If hospitals and MDs could bid for patients to fill their slow times, wouldn’t the following be possible:

  • Less need for capital redundancy (i.e., every hospital would not need to have the same equipment)
  • Less wait times for patients since they would be slotted in to open times
  • Less peaks and valleys at doctor’s office and hospitals since they would be offering a “discount” for you to come on Wednesday versus everyone wanting to come on Monday

Participation wouldn’t be easy, but ultimately, changing our healthcare model won’t be easy.  Just an idea.  There is something here to make the system more efficient.

One Response to “Reverse Auction for MDs / Hospitals”

  1. The internet provides a unique scenario in which your idea would work out. It would be something like an ebay style type of bidding in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: