Drew Madden has emerged over the past decade as one of the leading figures for reform of the broken U.S. healthcare system. After having spent his entire career in the healthcare industry, with a specialty in healthcare IT systems, Madden eventually found his way to the presidency of one of the most powerful healthcare IT firms in the country, Nordic Consulting Partners.

It was at Nordic that Madden first started to understand exactly how deeply the American healthcare system was mired in structural inefficiencies and systemic corruption. One of the first problems that Madden recognized was the woeful lack of real competition within the system and between healthcare networks. He recalls one study that he came across where a knee-replacement surgery cost $30,000 at a certain clinic. At another clinic, located just a few miles away, that same surgery cost over $70,000.

Madden says that such vast disparities in pricing within a single geographical location for essentially the same service is indicative of a massive breakdown in market mechanics. Madden says that it would be unthinkable for one gas station to be charging $3 for a gallon of gas while another gas station, located right up the street, was charging $7. Yet that is precisely the dynamic that plays out on a daily basis throughout the U.S. healthcare system.

Madden believes that the main culprit is a lack of real competition. However, fixing this problem is far easier said than done. Madden points to the significant extent of regulatory capture as a major impediment to moving towards a freer healthcare market within the United States. But one thing that Madden believes can be accomplished is to put more power into the hands of consumers in making informed decisions on their healthcare choices.

That’s why Madden’s new company, Evergreen Healthcare Partners, is helping to create platforms that allow the end users of the nation’s healthcare system to get the same kind of powerful information that they might have when buying a new or a used car. Madden says that these platforms will make it far harder for healthcare providers to gouge on prices.

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