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    A lack of transparency in healthcare is driving suspicion

    AICC panel

    As customers demand transparency in the products and services they use, we have more information available to us than ever before, but surprisingly little data available on our healthcare system and how it relates to us personally.

    Australia has one of the best health systems in the world in part because of the strength of the dual public-private system. But our industry has an ongoing challenge to balance rising costs and affordability while meeting the needs of our customers, who want to know what their healthcare experience will be like and what it will cost. In the age of transparency, this challenge affects most sectors, but we are playing catch-up in healthcare.

    We want to work with hospitals and doctors to help customers make more informed decisions about their healthcare.

    Private health insurance pays for close to two thirds of non-emergency surgery in Australia, and 50% of mental health admissions, 70% of joint replacements and 60% of chemotherapy.

    Along with some health industry colleagues, I recently spoke at an AICC event about the change that is needed. Reform can be challenging and there will be difficulties in rising to the task at times.

    But the future of healthcare in Australia relies on the dual public-private health system continuing to perform well. Part of this is making sure people have the information they need to make the right healthcare decisions for them. At Medibank, we are giving customers access to the data they need so they can make the most of their private health insurance.

    Our customers have told us they want more clarity on the cost and the experience they’ll have when they need to go to hospital. We recently published a search tool, Find a Provider, which shows people how often a specialist charges an out-of-pocket to a Medibank customer. This helps them understand what costs they might face but we’re only scratching the surface.

    We’ve been working with private hospitals and independent experts from The University of Melbourne to publish the results of our patient experience survey. Since 2016 we’ve been surveying our customers that have had an overnight hospital stay so we can better understand their experience in hospital.

    More than 30,000 Medibank customers have responded to our survey and in mid-November we’ll publish these results on our website for the first time. You’ll be able to see information about what patients thought of their hospital experience - how staff interacted with them, how clearly they received advice about their medicine, their care while they were in hospital, the quietness and cleanliness of the hospital and how prepared they were for discharge when going home.

    By making this patient experience information available, we can improve the value of healthcare by helping customers to make the choices that are right for them.

    More than 11.2 million Australians have hospital cover, and it is essential that we keep adapting to meet their healthcare needs.

    Medibank is committed to providing more transparency about going to hospital. We’re giving our customers more choice and empowering them to make informed decisions about their healthcare.

    This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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