Quality Care

Transparency in Healthcare Explained in 280 Characters or Less

Young adults holding thought bubbles.
We asked our members to answer the question: How can we achieve transparency in healthcare? Here's what they had to say—in 280 characters or less.

Accessibility for Transparency

Transparency in healthcare will come by releasing simple to understand cost and quality information to the public. This will require external interventions to move healthcare towards a patient/consumer-friendly model like every other organization that provides service to others.

– Mohammad Agha, MD, MHA, Assistant Professor of Clinical Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of Missouri Healthcare; Midwest Gateway Chapter of HIMSS Advocacy Director

Transparency in healthcare is not just about price, it’s about results, access, process, sharing of information and knowledge at a level the patient and family can understand. It’s about transparency of how billing, discounts, deductibles and rebates work.

– Don Barton, MBA, BSN, RRT, Chief Technology Officer and Director Supply Chain Management, Major Health Partners; Indiana Chapter of HIMSS Member

Transparency in healthcare is achieved in 2 layers. 1. Foster a collaborative, cross-continuum, outcomes-focused culture involving payers, providers, patients and communities. 2. Leverage technological, clinical and policy channels to accelerate adoption and improvement.

– Jason Carling, BSc, MBA, CPHIMS, Domain Architect, Information Technology, Alberta Health Services; Canadian Prairies Chapter of HIMSS Advocate

EHRs provide a golden opportunity for transparency. Real-time clinical communication, decision supports guiding care and patients accessing their own information – it’s the new reality. EHRs are the center of open, honest & accurate communication for teams and with patients.

– Megan Courtney, BN RN, CPHIMS-CA, eHealth Competence Lead, eCapacity and Adoption, Alberta Health Services; Canadian Prairies Chapter of HIMSS Marketing and Publications Director

Meaningful transparency demands clear, straightforward visibility into options, costs and possible outcomes. However, we must untangle those options, make their outcomes more predictable and improve navigability of the overall process, to enable truly informed decision-making.

– Kevin Nortrup, CSEP, CPHIMS, LSSGB, Principal, Sugar Creek Solutions; Indiana Chapter of HIMSS Director and Secretary

Transparency is essential in promoting patient-centric healthcare decisions. Achieving transparency will require rethinking our tech approach to assure simple access for consumers to find the pricing and quality of healthcare services and products.

– Mark Pavlovich, Senior Director, Analytics, CHSGa; HIMSS Member

Transparency in healthcare can only be achieved through standardized terminology across all care settings and clinicians. Without this, even with access to the data, it will be as if we are looking at data through a dirty lens and not fully understanding what we are seeing.

– Sylvia Rowe, RN-BC, MSN, Vice President Clinical Informatics, CHSGa; HIMSS Member

Complete health information must be readily available to consumers via a highly usable medium using a format and language conducive to being easily understood by the masses. Ideally, this should be optimized as part of an existing quality incentive program.

– Keith Weiner, PhD, RN; Board Member at Large, New York State Chapter of HIMSS

Data Transparency

How did we get to a point where your “smart watch” and phone know more about your health than your doctor? Hospitals need to share the data.

– Joel Benware, FACHE, CHCIO, CPHIMS, CHC, Chief Information, Innovation and Compliance Officer, Northwestern Medical Center; Vermont Chapter of HIMSS Member

Whether comparing the quality of providers, their availability or the total cost of the care provided, IT plays significantly in the patient-centric model of care, bringing timely, concise and insightful information to the consumer through familiar technology platforms.

– Nicholas Christiano, Jr., CEO, Aris Radiology; New York State Chapter of HIMSS Member and President-Elect Chair, Privacy, Security & Compliance Committee

AI in healthcare is the logical next step in data mining, discovery, portability and interoperability. AI aids in clinical decision support and allows for quick calculations to best care for the patient in that moment while providing the highest quality of care.

– Jennifer D’Angelo, Chief Information Officer, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center; New Jersey Chapter of HIMSS President

Transparency starts with information. Consumers need accurate costs and comparisons. Payers/providers must share data for improved value and outcomes. Governments must know how programs are performing and must make this accessible to stakeholders. Breaking data silos is key.

– Stefany Goradia, Co-founder and Informatics Officer at Versatile MED Analytics; New Mexico Chapter of HIMSS Member-at-Large

Modernizing IT infrastructure to enable data analytics is the first necessary step towards making information on the healthcare system’s quality, efficiency and consumer experience with care available to the public, in a reliable and understandable manner.

– Lisa Hines, NetApp Healthcare Business Development; South Carolina Chapter of HIMSS President

Our healthcare system is now largely digital but we have data, data everywhere but not a drop of knowledge to drink. The avalanche of data is almost impossible to consume by providers and patients alike. We need advanced abstraction tools to summarize the meaning behind the data.

– John Lee, MD, FAAEM, FHIMSS, Chief Medical Information Officer, Edward Hospital; HIMSS Organizational Affiliate

Transparency and interoperability go hand-in-hand. When electronic health information is managed in a patient-centric way, we can achieve the transparency that matters to patients and delivers better quality care across multiple providers.

– Eric Pahl, CoFounder and Chief Technology Officer, OmniLife; Iowa Chapter of HIMSS Advocacy Liaison Board Member

Pricing Transparency

Transparency is more complicated than publishing a chargemaster. Many factors dictate care costs, making it difficult to quantify standard prices. A continued emphasis on data-driven decisions can help organizations refine logic and produce more precise cost of care estimates.

– Jenni Bendfeldt, MHA, Founder & CEO of RecastHealth; Northern California Chapter of HIMSS Secretary & Membership Committee Adviser

Pricing transparency is expected to lower costs by helping consumers make informed choices. To succeed, we must engage consumers and make it worth their effort. We can get their attention by focusing efforts on areas where out-of-pocket expenses are an everyday pain point.

– Pua Cooper MSN, RN, FHIMSS, Chief Clinical Information Officer, Boca Raton Regional Hospital; South Florida Chapter of HIMSS President

To achieve transparency in healthcare, health systems must first put a considerable amount of effort into determining their exact costs for providing patient care.

– Ethel Massing, MSHI, IS Specialist, Parkview Health; Indiana Chapter of HIMSS President-Elect

Greater transparency in healthcare supports more meaningful interactions and dialogue between patient and physician. Price transparency is of special focus in the industry. It is important that we help people find the most appropriate treatment at a price they can afford.

– Michelle McGuire, Engagement Owner, Cerner; Kansas Chapter of HIMSS President

In an era of high-deductible plans, patients are much more sensitive to pricing. Although price transparency is a step in the right direction, pricing doesn’t tell the whole story. Hospitals should develop a price posting strategy that includes education and other qualifiers.

– Joe Wagner, MPA, FHIMSS, Senior Director, US/East Division, Gevity Consulting; HIMSS HIE Community Co-chair and  Central Florida Chapter of HIMSS Treasurer

Trust Through Transparency

Mutual respect and professionalism are the building blocks for achieving transparency in healthcare. Establishing trusting relationships, creating a learning culture and facilitating open communication promote a culture of transparency.

– Sophia F. Brown, RN, PhD, Project Manager, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; HIMSS Nursing Informatics Committee Member

How can we, in healthcare achieve transparency? It can simply be done by the three C's - Collaboration, Communication and Coordination. I truly believe by talking, that we can do what is best for our patients, co-workers and ourselves.

– Sepi Browning, President, Brighthour HIT Consulting; Georgia Chapter of HIMSS President-elect

Commitment to collaboration, openness and equal footing provides transparency basis. Ideas provide foundation for value shift connected to #valuebasedcare. As old FFS incentives disappear, so does need for secrecy.

– Matthew Fisher, Esq., Mirick O’Connell; HIMSS Social Media Ambassador

"When I think of #Transparency in #Healthcare, my mind jumps to the #implementation of a new system or process. Using tools and methodologies such as #dashboards and #governance structures provide #visibility and #accountability throughout the organization as a whole."

– Joseph J. Paulus, MBA, Director, e4; Communications Chair, South Carolina Chapter of HIMSS

"Transparency in healthcare can be achieved by a bottom-up approach, reinforcing inclusiveness and collaboration with a cultural shift towards openness to critique in quality, safety, accountability and informed decision-making to support meaningful outcomes."

– Harsh Sharma, MSc, MBA, HL7 Senior Advisor, Terminology Standards, Provincial Terminology Services, Health Information Management, Alberta Health Services; HIMSS Chapter Leader

"Transparency in healthcare begins when a patient can totally trust that providers, payers and technology are working together to provide efficient care at an optimal price. Trust can only be established when data and price transparency exist across all healthcare service lines."

– Kalyani Yerra, Senior Software Architect, Premier Inc.; Utah Chapter of HIMSS Advancement and Outreach Director

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

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