|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
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
For more information on HSC, visit www.hschange.org.