All-payer Claims Databases: Are the promises to lower costs real? or just wishful thinking?

All-payer claims databases are touted as one key to reducing overall healthcare costs because the notion is that the transparency associated with these tools will lead providers to change their behavior if they are an outlier and patients will use the associated tools to make better decisions about how they spend their healthcare dollars. So far? Not so much.

It’s tempting to view healthcare as a rational market where the customers (patients) make data driven decisions, but as Bannow (2018, September 15) points out, “Despite the rise in high-deductible health plans, the majority of Americans still are “very insulated” from the actual cost of healthcare…That's one thing that dampens the use of the tools resulting from all-payer claims databases.” The other factor is the emotion, belief systems, and non-rational thought that plays a role in healthcare decisions. If only we had a database to solve for that!