This is the first in a three-part blog. We thought we’d explain how we have organized the products on HealthPricer and how that helps you more easily find the exact health products you are looking for. An important point to make up-front is that we focus on health products only. Our depth of health
product awareness and expertise allows us to do a better job at organizing and presenting products in this one category than the major comparison shopping sites.

The three areas we will be looking at are:

  • Data normalization: part 1
  • Understanding product variations: part 2
  • Complete and accurate pricing: part 3

Part 1: Data Normalization

One of the biggest issues facing consumers searching for products on comparison shopping sites is one product is displayed under many different terms – the result shows several different products, whereas the reality is there is only one product. The problem is that there is no one entity that enforces naming conventions online, so every retailer has the ability to display different product names for the same product, some quite accidental and some quite intentional. Say Acuvue Oasys. A couple of merchants may call the product “Johnson & Johnson Acuvue Oasys” and others “Acuvue Oasys Johnson & Johnson” and so on. Every different occurrence of the name appears as a different product.

That’s exactly what happens with most general purpose comparison shopping sites. Take www.shopping.com as an example. Here’s what they display for the search: “Acuvue Oasys”.

Search for Acuvue Oasys through shopping.com

You see the problem? It’s very difficult to compare the exact product and best price from this menu.

At HealthPricer we’ve been working hard to ensure this doesn’t happen. We’ve put rules and processes in place that force products into specific category and naming conventions. In contrast to other comparison shopping sites that grab the product name, price, shipping and handling details as
they appear on the retailer’s site, we grab the same product details then run the information through our processes and remove duplications and other misleading information.

It’s a lot of work to enforce this on hundreds of thousands of products in five departments, but a much needed exercise in order to make sense out of all of the disparate healthcare product information that the merchants are displaying. The vast majority of the products on HealthPricer now reflect those in the “real world” and the same product across many merchants can easily be compared. Here’s the same Acuvue Oasys” contact lens example seen through HealthPricer.

Search for Acuvue Oasys through HealthPricer

Next part 2, where we talk about the next set of rules we have set up for health products on HealthPricer – understanding and setting processes for product variations, such as numbers of contact lens boxes or numbers of pills of specific prescription drugs.