Competition in Healthcare
September 17, 2012
In all industries, competition among businesses has long been encouraged as a mechanism to increase value for patients. In other words, competition ensures the provision of better products and services to satisfy the needs of customers (Glover & Rivers, 2009). In the health care industry, competition has an impact on many relational perspectives. There have been several studies examining the relationships between competition and quality of health care, competition and health care system costs, and competition and patient satisfaction. Some elements of competition in health care are price, quality, convenience, and superior products and…show more content… Hospitals also compete for physicians by offering more highly trained supportive staff and/or better equipment. Hospitals are more likely to compete for patients by providing more services, better amenities, or discounted prices. There is a strong competition for cutting edge technology and medical talent locally and globally. Hospitals also have to compete for inclusion in insurer’s provider networks. Insurance plans compete for cost to payers, quality of provider networks, credentialing screening, and quality assessment procedures. Competition drives innovation and ultimately leads to the delivery of better healthcare. Competition has played a vital role in shaping the delivery of healthcare in the United States. Competition results in lower prices and broader access to health care and health insurance. Competition among and between hospitals and physicians intensified with the development of managed care organizations. In addition to putting pressure on costs, managed care plans have pressured providers to use shorter hospital stays and to offer alternative outpatient treatments (Botti, 2007). This led to lower costs and an increase in choice without sacrificing quality. Lower costs and improved efficiency has made health insurance more affordable and available. Another benefit of competition in health care is the innovation in healthcare technology (i.e. endoscopic surgery, anesthetic agents available in ambulatory surgery centers).