Making Search-to-Purchase Health Care Shopping a Reality

October 5, 2016

Imagine a world where shopping, comparing and purchasing health services online was as easy as shopping online a new pair of shoes.

In July, HealthSparq and SpendWell Health, two members of the Cambia family of companies, joined forces to create an unprecedented health care shopping and e-commerce experience, all in one platform. Cambia also announced our investment in MDSave, the world’s first online health care marketplace.

By combining HealthSparq’s industry-leading health care comparison tool and SpendWell’s e-commerce “buy now” capabilities, the platform will allow people to comparison shop for care and purchase medical appointments all in one setting. By making search-to-purchase health care a reality, our vision is to empower consumers with the ability to understand their costs and make their own health care decisions.

We sat down with members of the HealthSparq and Spendwell teams to learn more about their vision for this new platform:

Why is it so important to make search-to-purchase a reality?

It’s all part of being a consumer-focused company and delivering on our mission to empower people to make smarter health care decisions. It's been very hard in health care to empower consumers with transactions. We can educate, but it's hard to get to the point of purchase. Why can't you make the last final step and purchase that service right there? This technology really allows plans to cater to their members in ways that are similar to other industries.”

- Torben Nielsen, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Product at HealthSparq

“Even when we go to the grocery store we can shop for the best product at the best price, and the market wants to know why health care doesn’t work that way. By combining these two technologies on one platform, we’re bringing health care into the 21st century.”

- Scott Baldwin, manager of Product Platform, HealthSparq

“It really just comes down to shopping for health care the way we shop for everything else in our life, and being able to purchase it at that moment.”

- Chris Coogan, director of Product, SpendWell

How does this type of technology impact the member/provider relationship?

It’s not just the search-to-purchase logistics. It’s building outreach and a relationship with the consumer. We hope that this provides some stickiness between the member and the plan. That members will be able to see “My plan is trying to help me” and “I do have some options and my health plan is enabling me to make some of those decisions.” It’s beneficial for the plan and for the member.”

- Torben Nielsen, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Product at HealthSparq

“What’s going to make us really unique is the fact that we have the ability to not only search for doctors, treatments and cost estimates but to also take the next step and allow members to make purchases.”

- Tom Cohen, Sales director, HealthSparq

How do you hope the industry will react to these changes?

“It’s really great to be involved in a company that can easily shape and structure our companies based on what the market is asking for. HealthSparq should be more than just a reference tool, but a full service platform where you can actually buy the service you are researching. Our clients are going to be thrilled about this news.”

- Mark Menton, SVP Client Services, HealthSparq

Want to learn more? Check out the following:

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