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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: January 12, 2010
Transparency Can Work If Consumers Know Provider Quality Gaps, Study Finds

Despite the flood of healthcare price and quality information available to the public, and despite the fact that provider quality can vary greater, many Americans still rely on friends and family when choosinga physician or hospital, according to a study conducted by HSC President Paul Ginsburg and Nicole M. Kemper, a health research analyst.

Meanwhile providers are using the same information to improve their performance, the study found.

If payers are to encourage consumers to use quality information hospitals and other providers they must first raise consumer awareness of the existence and serious implications of provider quality gaps, the authors said.

Meanwhile HSC Analysts Ha T. Tu and Johanna R. Lauer point to two well-designed and smartly implemented quality transparency initiatives – CalHospitalCompare, a report card for hospitals, and Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, a report card for primary care physician groups.

Common features of the two initiatives are:

  • Collaborating with the provider community from the outset;
  • Ensuring high-caliber quality data are reported accurately;
  • Presenting quality data in easy-to-understand formats; and
  • Providing hospitals and physicians with detailed information on their performance.

Transparency initiatives can impact quality through the "sunshine effect," by which providers — seeing their quality metrics publicly compared to their competitors — are motivated to improve quality to protect their public and professional reputations and to adhere to professional norms, the study said. Effective programs typically give providers more-detailed data than the information publicly reported.

For more information on HSC, visit

  This article was taken from:
Pay-For-Performance Reporter

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