Health care reform is directed toward improving access and quality while containing costs. An essential part of this is improvement of pricing models to more accurately reflect the costs of providing care. Transparent prices that reflect costs are necessary to signal information to consumers and producers. This information is central in a consumer-driven marketplace. The rapid increase in high deductible insurance and other forms of cost sharing incentivizes the search for price information. The organizational ability to measure costs across a cycle of care is an integral component of creating value, and will play a greater role as reimbursements transition to episode-based care, value-based purchasing, and accountable care organization models. This article discusses use of activity-based costing (ABC) to better measure the cost of health care. It describes examples of ABC in health care organizations and discusses impediments to adoption in the United States including cultural and institutional barriers.
Hilsenrath, P. E.,
Eakin, C. F.,
Price-Transparency and Cost Accounting: Challenges for Health Care Organizations in the Consumer-Driven Era.
Inquiry, 52(1), 1–5.