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Publicly Reporting Comprehensive Quality and Cost Data: A Health Care System's Transparency Initiative

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Abstract:

Background: Transparency in health care, including the public reporting of health care results, is an expanding and unstoppable phenomenon. Health care systems have an opportunity to: (1) be proactive and accountable for the care they provide, (2) help patients learn more about their condition as a supplement to understanding the performance measures, and (3) use public reporting to foster process of care and outcome improvement initiatives. An overview is provided of the first 22 months of a transparency initiative at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC).

Launching the Transparency Initiative: An interdisciplinary operations group works with the various clinical programs—both providers and patients—to identify what quality and cost measures are most desired by patients and what measures are the focus of the clinical program's internal measurement and reporting processes. The measures are presented on the DHMC Web site, with access to additional resources, such as clinical decision aids.

Discussion: A variety of factors are important to the transparency initiative—senior leaders' perceptions, risk management issues, resources required for the design and maintenance of the initiative, and developing both methodological protocols and technical systems.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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