HealthSparq’s First Health Care Shopping Trends Report


About 6 months ago, we were sitting around talking and asked ourselves three questions:

  1. Most of our competition is publishing reports on price disparities on medical procedures within markets, for example, colonoscopies in Kansas. But do the price disparities matter if that’s not what people are looking for? How are real people shopping for health care?
  2. We have a lot of people using our tools and we regularly take what we know about them to help improve their experiences. Can we share our knowledge and help the rest of the world to better understand what people are looking for?
  3. Our usage is growing nicely. But, usage overall is still small across the industry. Can we help the industry better understand what people need so they can build experiences that meet those needs?

Out of that questioning arose our first Annual Health Care Shopping Trends Report, released to the public this morning.

The report looks at the behaviors of over 237,000 people who looked up over 527,000 cost estimates in our tools in 2015. It details who is shopping, what they’re shopping for, when they’re shopping for it, and the differences in searches based on region. We’ve even thrown some fun stuff in there because, hey, health care should have some fun stuff, right?

We’ve learned a lot.

  • People shop for the most expensive stuff, especially labor and delivery, no surprise. But they are also searching for the more day to day stuff, like immunizations and chiropractors.
  • Shopping patterns vary dramatically across ages, seasons and geographies.
  • Our shopping trend data marries well with sources such as the CDC and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). For example, colon health is highly searched in the west (2X more than other regions), where there also happens to be the lowest incidence of colorectal cancer.

So, we hope you take some time and review the report. Use it to think about how you could change some of the ways you offer people information. And think about how it can help you drive even more people to use shopping tools and ultimately raise their health care IQs. Better yet, check out if you have access to shopping tools and try them out for yourself!

We hope you enjoy it. We’d love any feedback that you have. Please send to