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Price sensitivity and optimal price level in refractive surgery: which price is the right one?

Session Details

Session Title: Special Issues

Session Date/Time: Friday 15/02/2013 | 08:30-10:00

Paper Time: 09:35

Venue: Hall 2

First Author: : T.Herbst GERMANY

Co Author(s): :    J. Förster   D. Uthoff           

Abstract Details


The aim of the study is to evaluate the degree of price sensitivity for (potential) patients of the refractive surgery. Among the role of the price in the decision process of a patient, we want to identify the optimal range of price level for refractive procedures


We developed a questionnaire, which includes 32 questions. Potential and already operated refractive patients have been interviewed. Resulting data base consists of 400 patients, which may be allocated to following subgroups: “potential patients” (200), “operated patients” (200), “LASIK patients” (269) and “refractive lens exchange patients” (131).


The determination of the price sensitivity will occur with the help of two statistical methods: Price sensitivity measurement (PSM) determines the acceptable price range, which supplies the biggest part of demand for refractive surgery. With the help of “direct price request”, price sensitivity of potential patients can be calculated. Furthermore, maximum willingness to pay will be analyzed for different price segments. The resulting loss of producer surplus, which arises from low price strategy, will be calculated and presented for different price segments. In addition, market coverage rate for different price segments will be estimated.


According to PSM, corresponding results show that the optimal price range is between 1.000 – 1.900 € for LASIK. Optimal price range for refractive lens patients lies between 1.000 € and 1.700 €. We will show that the level of price sensitivity is very low (-0.3). According to maximum willingness to pay, 12 % of LASIK patients and 20 % of refractive lens patients paid less than patient-related maximum willingness to pay. The quality of medical performance, the reputation of the surgeon and the patient’s fear of a surgical operation have a greater impact on the patient’s decision process compared to price level. Since the factor “price level” plays a subordinate role in the patient’s decision process, the low price strategy is wrong and leads to large profit losses on the part of healthcare provider. As a result, optimal price range lies above several low price offers.


In the last few years, German market for refractive surgery has been dominated more and more by huge healthcare providers, who follow a low price strategy. As a consequence of pricing pressure, many healthcare providers have brought down their prices. But how import is the role of price level for patients who tinker with the idea of demanding a refractive surgery and how great is the relative importance of other potential factors of influence? On the basis of an online panel, we explored the price sensitivity of patients who have already had a refractive surgery as well as potential patients. As a result, we expected the patient’s price sensitivity to be very low and optimal price range for refractive surgery to be relative high. These findings comprehend important implications for healthcare providers of the refractive market: reassessment of the followed price strategy, adjustment of the used marketing strategies and instruments as well as redefining of the key aspects in refractive patient-centered care process are just some of the elementary conclusions of low price sensitivity.

Financial Disclosure:


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