At the end of the day, everything we do is for the benefit of patients and ensuring that all patients have the ability to access quality care at low costs.
What it does
Our platform provides a searchable database that patients can use to find and compare the costs of medical procedures across many different hospitals in the state of California.
How we built it
There are two components to our platform: 1.) A web application mock-up of MEDSEARCH. This was built with python and can eventually be transferred into a fully working website that can be accessed by patients from any electronic device. 2.) A dashboard, which is a searchable database that was built using Tableau.
Challenges we ran into
As charge master lists are too detailed, fail to provide an indication of actual amounts paid, and don't group price information at the procedure level, we decided to clean and analyze California OSHPD average hospital cost data for our platform mock up. Although we began with some previously aggregated data from OSHPD hospitals, our team still had to add information from almost 150 individual OSHPD hospital forms and add address information from 300 to create a data set of about 8000 rows with real average cost information. We also had to recategorize and group medical procedures so they would be more navigate-able.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The issue of price transparency in healthcare costs is a well-known and long-standing issue. We are thrilled to have been able to work together as a team to create a product that could prove useful to patients in navigating the healthcare system and obtaining quality care at reduced costs.
Although our dashboard and site is still in development, our use of real average cost data means upon completion consumers will be able to use what we created to have more informed conversations with medical professionals and potentially save significant costs on essential services.
What we learned
We learned quite a bit about hospital pricing and some of the factors that contribute to the pricing of hospital procedures.
What's next for MEDSEARCH
1) associate diagnoses with each of the listed procedures 2) track insurance coverage across different hospitals 3) price adjustment depending on insurance 4) establish a standard format for procedure names and data collection 5) expand to states beyond California and across the US
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