When do consumers find cost and resource use information most useful for decision making?

Timing and financial stake play a large role.

 
In the effort to encourage consumers to use cost and resource information to make health care decisions, timing is everything. When consumers have access to data when it’s time to make decisions, they are best equipped to choose value: the best possible care for the lowest possible cost
 
Consumer readiness for health care data depends on a number of interrelated personal factors. Consumers demonstrate more interest in applying cost information to their decisions when they have
 
A high level of exposure to out-of-pocket costs. Consumers who are aware they have a strong financial incentive to use cost information—due to a high-deductible health plan, poor or no coverage, the need to make frequent provider visits, value-based insurance designs, or a combination of the above—are more likely to use cost information. 
A non-severe, non-urgent condition. Consumers who have time to shop for care and do not have a severe or urgent condition are more likely to use cost information. 
Few or no preconceptions about the quality of providers. Consumers who have not been influenced by advertising, word of mouth, or a previous positive personal experience are more likely to use cost information. 
 
Conversely, a consumer with less interest in cost information may have one or more of the following: 
 
A traditional insurance plan (HMO/PPO)
A need for urgent care or treatment for a severe condition
A doctor whom they like, or preconceived notions about the quality of certain providers