The healthcare industry is a very competitive
industry and it does not look like that will change anytime soon. Competition
is a good thing for the healthcare industry. Competition provides a variety of
benefits which include, competition can increase the value or quality of care
given to the patient over time (Rivers & Glover, 2010). In addition, the
improvements in quality and value can decrease the delivery costs and other
healthcare-related costs (Rivers & Glover, 2010). The reduction of
healthcare costs is one of the key roles in healthcare competition (Rivers
& Glover, 2010). However, there are a variety of elements involved. Some of
the elements involved in healthcare competition include: quality, price,
technology, superior services or products, and convenience (Rivers &
Glover, 2010). In addition, to these elements organization’s compete for
physicians, patients, and third-party payers (Rivers & Glover, 2010).
Therefore, it seems that competition within the healthcare industry has the
potential for steady improvements and new treatment options for patients. Consequently,
organizations are constantly trying to “improve” or “add
to” the current services and/or procedures offered.
Competition in the healthcare industry has impacted
the delivery of healthcare to the patient by, improving quality, containing
costs, and innovation (FTC, n.d.). There is competition among insurance
providers as well. Therefore, patients have the ability to “shop” for
the coverage they want to carry. This includes premiums, benefits, co-pays, and
deductibles etc… (Rivers & Glover, 2010). Patients also have the ability
to determine which healthcare provider they would like to seek services from
and browse through a variety of factors. A patient may want to go to one
healthcare organization because of its reputation even though the same services
are provided elsewhere cheaper. The increase in competition allows patients to
have more choices when it pertains to the care they desire or need.
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Competition is good for the healthcare industry. There are some benefits brought by competition, such as lower costs, better services for patients, and more innovation in healthcare management. In terms of services, healthcare providers can gain competitive advantage based on the services they offer. Faster services, such as same-day results for lab work, ultrasound, and x-rays are appealing to patients. In addition, healthcare providers can gain patient popularity if they offer free consultations about medicine and healthcare. Healthcare quality and price of healthcare are the two most important factors considered by patients (Wall, 2013). Where real market competition can be found in healthcare, it drives quality upward and prices downward. Laser eye surgery and cosmetic surgery are both competitive markets; in each, producers provide the information patients need, quality has improved, and inflation-adjusted prices have fallen.
In a growing trend in the healthcare industry, foreign hospitals are competing against hospitals in advanced countries that suffer under high prices or long waits for treatment. For example, Howard Staab from North Carolina had no health insurance when his doctor told him he needed open-heart surgery. The Durham Regional Hospital said the procedure would cost $200,000. Instead, Staab flew to New Delhi, where a former New York University medical school professor performed the operation for less than $10,000 (Cannon, 2005). In this case, the patient had more options to choose healthcare treatments from different healthcare providers. Competition allows the patient to enjoy more low cost treatments in surgery.