Catalyst for Payment Reform

Health Care Inspiration in Unlikely Places

Health Care Inspiration in Unlikely Places

Can health care take a page from SpotHero’s playbook?

CPR’s office is in the city of Berkeley, California, near the larger urban centers Oakland and San Francisco, and between local population and the University student body, parking nearby can sometimes be a challenge.  We discovered a mobile app that assists with finding parking in the area – SpotHero (we have no relationship with SpotHero and are receiving no compensation for this mention).  The app allows you to reserve a parking spot in advance at a pre-negotiated rate, whether in the parking lot of a local business or a parking garage.

Given the ease and convenience of using SpotHero, we wondered – can health care take a page from SpotHero’s playbook?  CPR and others in health care are constantly seeking ways to improve cost, quality, and the overall patient experience.  Now we recognize that the complexities of parking pale in comparison to health care, but let us entertain you for a moment.


In SpotHero, when you open the app, a box appears asking for the address where you need parking.  Once you enter a start and end time for parking and click “Search,” a number of parking spots with different pre-negotiated rates instantly pop up near the location.  When you book a spot, a charge immediately goes through to your credit card on file.  You can even cancel your spot in advance and get a refund.

Yes, health care is more complex than parking – health care pricing depends on the geography, place of service, the service itself, and benefit design.  While it would be great to solve for all of that, a step forward would be to provide the prices and total cost data with a simple user interface that consumers know to reference before seeking care.


Prior to booking a parking spot, SpotHero provides a standard set of details about the parking spot, including whether it is covered and secure or if there’s a valet service, along with any special instructions.  This advanced information helps customers find a match to their needs.

Meanwhile, in health care, details about what to expect from providers or their care are limited and often inconsistent. The measures reported may not be meaningful or relevant to particular consumers and health plans differ in the methodologies and thresholds they use to define a high-quality provider.

Member (and patient) experience:

After you’ve parked and the next time you open the SpotHero app, it will ask you to rate your last visit.  It’s easy – one to five stars and a feedback box.  They’re collecting a lot of valuable member experience data on their “providers” because it’s easy to give the feedback – it’s the first page you see when you re-open the app.

Did you know the easy 5-star feedback mechanism has been analyzed in health care?  Recently, we wrote a blog about The Manhattan Institute’s April 2017 report “Yelp for Health: Using the wisdom of crowds to find high-quality hospitals,” in which the study found a correlation between more favorable Yelp reviews and better-quality hospitals (as defined by clinical quality metrics).  In health care, there is a lot we can learn from the Yelps of the world when it comes to gathering consumer feedback and taking action on it.

Are there other playbooks that health care can take a page from?  We’re curious – share your thoughts with us!

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