TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Transparency is a health-care catchphrase in the Florida Legislature this year, with lawmakers taking a closer look at how to beef up the state’s data collection and dissemination.
With the 2019 legislative session starting Tuesday, members of the State Consumer Health Information and Policy Advisory Council were given updates Thursday on two of the state’s health care websites: Florida HealthFinder and Florida HealthPriceFinder.
The Florida HealthFinder website was created to help people research health care choices. Through the website, they can find information on quality of care, among other things.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration also offers the Florida HealthPriceFinder website. An initiative of former Gov. Rick Scott, that site was created to help consumers compare the costs of health care at different facilities. But those efforts have been hampered by the state’s inability to collect claims data from several Florida HMOs and insurance companies.
The number of consumers visiting Florida HealthFinder continues to increase, with about 80,000 more visits in January than during the prior year.
According to documents, there were 315,264 visits in January. Most visitors to the Florida HealthFinder website gravitate to the Facility/Provider Locator page, which accounted for 3.4 million hits in 2018. The second most visited page on the Florida HealthFinder website was the health encyclopedia/symptom navigator page, which had 538,828 hits in 2018.
Since Florida HealthPriceFinder was launched in November 2017, it has received 42,779 hits. The largest number in a month, according to the data, occurred in October 2018, when there were 3,698 visits to the site. Eighty-four percent of clicks to the website come through referrals, where outside websites send users to Florida HealthPriceFinder. The top outside referrals to Florida HealthPriceFinder were from UF Health Jacksonville, Memorial Health Care System and Health First.
The State Consumer Health Information and Policy Advisory Council meets quarterly and assists the Agency for Health Care Administration on health-information issues, including the identification, collection, standardization, sharing and coordination of data.