Will the New Payer-Created Claims Database Provide Valuable Information for Anesthesiologists?

Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare have announced plans to establish an online database of paid claims that will provide information regarding the price and quality of healthcare services, according to an Anesthesia Business Consultants blog post.

In 2011, Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente created the Health Care Cost Institute to provide data to qualified researchers on more than 5 billion claims dating from 2000. The database is accessible to researchers only and aims at promoting a better understanding of the drivers of increasing healthcare costs.

According to the blog post, the new claims database will be open to the public, using a secure portal. It is intended to be a consumer tool, offering patients and caregivers a "reference price" for health services in their areas, however, according to a news release, the database will benefit providers as well by giving them "timely and accurate information about costs and quality [that will allow] them to see information on other providers as well."

While this information will be of considerable value to physicians attempting to establish or adjust their own fee schedules, it remains to be seen how the "service" and "payment details" will be defined. The payments amounts alone for anesthesia services will not be very helpful if the breakdown between base and time units is not given as well, since longer procedures generate higher charges and payments, according to the blog post.

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