Healthcare transparency has been defined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as making available to the public, in a reliable and understandable manner, information on the health care system’s quality, efficiency and consumer experience with care, which includes price and quality data, so as to influence the behavior of patients, providers, payers and others to achieve better outcomes (American College, 2010). Transparency allows consumers to make better informed decisions. It also helps health facilities convey information to the public. With more information in the open, there will be less overall confusion. People will be better equipped and facilities will know how they compare to other facilities.
In the past transparency has been affected by lawsuits. With the risk of being sued, many physicians and hospitals did not want to divulge private information. Of course, this attitude is beginning to change. In the video “Healthcare Transparency” Dr. Patrick Cawley expresses that transparency in the future will be greatly increased (Dr. Cawley, P., 2009). More information will lead to better patient care. Eventually a patient will be able to review how well a hospital or physician is able to provide care. Everything from infection rates to waiting times will all be accessible to the public.
I agree with all forms of medical transparency. Access to wait times will better prepare potential patients for their visits to a hospital. Knowledge of infection rates will affect how the public perceives a health institute. If infection rates are high, most likely public opinion will be able to change this. No longer will things of this nature be shrugged off as typical health care. If a facility is providing less than optimal care, people will be aware of this and know to avoid the facility. This means that poor health care facilities will rightfully fail, while prominent effective health facilities remain active and prosperous. Thus means overall better patient care. If only the best health care facilities are able to thrive, more people will be able to receive optimal care.
Patient satisfaction surveys will also help potential patients understand the environment they are about to enter. If a staff is rude and curt than the public will have access to this. Essentially, this will encourage health care providers to give optimal quality of service to each and every patient. Of course, it’s important that a patients expectations are not too grand. Nothing in life is perfect and people should understand this. Busy hours and numerous patients can cause fatigue. After all, health care providers are still human. Perhaps if all physicians were machines then we could expect them all to be perfect. Performance of medical procedures will enlighten a patient of how well a hospital is able to provide a service.
This in turn will allow consumers to make the best choice when selecting a facility for providing care. Someone needing back surgery should be able to locate and choose a facility right for them. If a facility performs poorly with back surgeries, the public has a right to know so that they can avoid this. People have the right to make the most well informed decision. Facility treatment of patients should definitely be transparent. If a facility is trying to hide something it can’t be good. People have the right to know how well a facility treats their patients. This also encourages a facility to always do their best. Ultimately, everyone wants the best health care possible.
With expanded information more people will be properly informed of all their choices. Transparency means freedom for consumers. It means more access to information, and more freedom to select the best choice. Without transparency health care is more of a guessing game. Does the facility perform well with back surgery? Who knows guess you’ll have to find out on your own. Of course, that’s risky. But why risk, when you can be informed? At least with information the public can make better decisions. Better decisions will ultimately lead to the best health care. The strong will survive, while the weak will perish. Poor health facilities will fail as more and more people choose the best facilities. As the best facilities succeed the health community will become stronger as a whole. A strong health community will lead to an overall better equipped public community.
American College of Physicians. (2010). Health Transparency. Retrieved from http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/current_policy_papers/assets/transparency.pdf
Dr. Cawley, P. (2009). Health Care Transparency. Retrieved from https://portal.phoenix.edu/medialibrary/videodetails.05V130128092014044.html