Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Carol Stoak Saunders, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Jung C. Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Troy A. Montgomery, D.B.A.

Committee Member

Gaole Chen, Ph.D.


Healthcare, health care policy, patients, payers, price transparency, providers


The study explores price transparency in the healthcare system. With the increase in healthcare spending resulting in the advent of high deductible plans, consumers have been exposed to high healthcare cost. Despite being burdened with outrageous and extravagant bills, studies have shown that the consumers are not using price transparency tools to their benefit.

The literature review reveals that the major stakeholders in the healthcare industry have never been studied together to understand the research question on ‘Why is there lack of price transparency in the healthcare system?’ moreover, there is no theory to explains this phenomenon.

This study undertakes a 360-degree, exhaustive view of all the major stakeholders of the healthcare industry in aims to understand the reasons behind the lack of price transparency in the healthcare system and what is holding the industry back.

The study followed a grounded theory methodology approach, utilizing the data from 78 semi-structured interviews. The 78 professionals and executives representing the major stakeholders in the healthcare industry contributed to providing information to uncover the key factors for an opaque healthcare industry.

Eighty-five hours of interviews resulted in 1,686 transcribed pages that provided insights and discernment to understanding the complexities and intricacies in the healthcare industry that prevent it from becoming fully transparent. The results provide the richness of data for an emergent theory that explains the actions taken by major stakeholders to reduce healthcare spending based on their intrinsic interests and their perceptions of complexities of the healthcare industry.

The study presents practical implications on how a complex industry is slow to evolve and that a change is not possible unless it is deconstructed layer by layer to recognize the root cause. The change has to start from the core by simplifying the complexities that are created over time by the stakeholders who have always looked to optimize their motivations and have had no incentives to make the industry efficient.