Insurers Use Surgical Videos To Educate Patients, Reduce Costs
Some health insurers and employers are using animated and live-action surgery graphics and videos as part of a patient education effort, the Wall Street Journal reports. The videos, which are posted online, are part of a larger movement toward more consumer-driven health care and aim to encourage patients to take better care of themselves so they do not need complicated, expensive treatments, according to the Journal.
Companies that create the videos, such as Las Vegas-based WorldDoc, say the videos also can provide patients with realistic expectations about surgical procedures, the Journal reports.
In addition, patients can use graphic photographs to do a first diagnosis of their health problems, according to Phil Pasley, vice president of marketing for Insurance Management Administrators of Louisiana.
St. Louis-based Graphic Surgery, which licenses its videos to the health plan Lumenos, provides a Web calculator that projects an employer's annual costs from common surgeries and estimates savings that can result from educating employees. The company's video service costs employers $8,520 annually for 1,000 workers.
The Journal reports that it is unclear if the videos have had an effect on employers' health costs or the number of surgeries.
Richard de Asla, an orthopedic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said, "There's a shock value to this, and just the shock value is going to scare some people away."
But Robert Meehan -- director of compensation and benefits for Tempe, Ariz.-based ASML, whose employees have access to surgery videos through an online medical library provided by its insurance administrator -- said, "Sometimes you have to shock people a little bit just to get their attention" (Rubenstein, Wall Street Journal, 11/30).