What Does Health Care Transparency Mean?

by Phil C. Solomon on May 22, 2015

in Consumerism and transparency,Revenue Cycle Management

Health Care Transparency Should Be About Strategy, Not Marketing

Health care organizations need to re-think their concept of strategy to thrive in a marketplace driven by competition on value – how well they improve patient outcomes and cut costs. That re-thinking begins with clarifying what the organizations are truly trying to accomplish, and for what “customers,” and how they are going to distinguish themselves from competitors and offer a unique value proposition. Make no mistake – improving value for patients is hard. But as Michael Porter and I write in our recent Perspective article in The New England Journal of Medicine, “Why Strategy Matters Now,” providers are unlikely to succeed if they cannot focus on this goal.

This critical question of organizational goal applies to how providers think about transparency – the growing trend to make their performance data public. What are they trying to accomplish when, for example, they publicize surgical success rates or patient experience data and comments? Are they focused mostly on marketing (aka “reputation management”), or are they trying to improve their actual performance by engaging patients and caregivers with complete and objective data?

The answer is important because the transparency movement will be a game changer. For years, most provider organizations were skeptical about whether “quality” could really be measured, and many resisted public reporting of any performance data or tried to focus their data collection on process measures that they could control. (I make these comments with appropriate humility, having at times pushed as a clinician and health care executive for “translucency” more than transparency in the past.)

To read the rest of the article, go to Harvard Business Review Site

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Phil C. Solomon is the publisher of Revenue Cycle News, a healthcare business information blog. He serves as the Vice President of Global Services for MiraMed, a worldwide healthcare Business Processing Outsourcing services company. Phil has 25 years of experience in healthcare as an industry thought leader, strategist, solution provider, author and featured speaker. In this blog, you will read about important industry updates, strategies for improving financial performance, and commentary that challenges the status quo. 

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