Suppose you’re shopping for a new refrigerator or a new car, and you want to get the best price. Within a matter of minutes of searching online, you would have a pretty good idea of the price range for the product you want.

But in health care? Forget it.

That’s why KQED teamed up with and KPCC to win a Knight Prototype Grant to ask users to help us make health care costs transparent.

Within a month of winning the grant, PriceCheck was up and running. I led the product team at KQED, working closely with our partners to launch an embeddable form for users to submit how much their common medical procedures cost. That data then becomes searchable for others to use.

We used a design-centered approach, surveying users and conducting in-person interviews to create a usable form for a difficult task. That work paid off, and we have had hundreds of submissions and thousands of queries.

Our work was featured in JAMA Internal Medicine on Nov. 17,  along with an editor’s note by the JAMA editor. The editor’s note called us “bold” and a supplier of “essential information,” and called for more of the same. We were also featured in the Harvard Business Review, Washington Post and other news outlets.

Currently, we are expanding to other stations and working on new iterations.

View the project.

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