Portland, Maine — It has been said that Americans do more research when buying a car than choosing a doctor or hospital. The Center for Healthcare Transparency (CHT), a newly launched, groundbreaking organization, aims to change that by making it easier for people to compare healthcare options. CHT is developing a roadmap that will enable individuals to take advantage of reliable information about healthcare quality and costs. Currently, such information is nearly impossible to track down, making it difficult for people to make informed decisions about their health. CHT will develop solutions for producing and publishing comparative performance data so that individuals, physicians, and employers can obtain information about the quality of care provided by local doctors and medical centers and can easily evaluate costs for physicians and hospitals.
The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) will serve as CHT’s lead partner in the effort. NRHI is a leader in transforming U.S. healthcare. Its members are Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives, which are comprised of physicians, payers, consumers, and healthcare systems, and have extensive experience turning raw data into meaningful information to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs.
“NRHI and its members are uniquely qualified to break through the barriers to healthcare transparency,” Elizabeth Mitchell, the NRHI President and CEO, explained. “Local collaboratives work with all stakeholders committed to using healthcare data to improve quality and reduce costs, then build consensus and develop information that everyone trusts.”
Developing meaningful information requires integrating multiple types of data that are almost impossible to combine today, then communicating that information in ways that empower patients, employers, and public purchasers to be informed, active decision makers in the healthcare system.
NRHI will work with Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) and others to develop a set of common standards and protocols that can be used by regional data centers to blend multiple sources of information including:
• Medical claims (the amount Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance companies paid for specific procedures)
• Clinical data (electronic medical records, clinical disease registries, etc.)
• Patient surveys (patient reported outcomes, patient experiences, etc.)
“When good information is available about where the best care is being delivered and how much it costs, there will be huge motivation for everyone involved to do better,” Dr. David Lansky, PBGH President and CE0, explained. “CHT will be integral in creating the blueprint to turn this objective into a reality.”
CHT is funded by a $5.67 million planning grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), a private foundation that makes investments in innovative ideas with the potential to produce systemic change.
“We believe CHT can help transform healthcare by targeting every layer of the system,” Kelli Rhee, LJAF Director of Venture Development, explained. “Families will be equipped with the information they need; physicians will be better able to evaluate their performance and make referrals; employers will be able to secure high-quality care for workers; insurance companies will be able to design more effective plans; and hospitals will be better able to measure the value they provide.”
Rhee noted that CHT seeks to enable a healthcare market that is focused on improving quality and reducing cost. That structure is dramatically different than the current system, which often rewards sheer market power, reputation, and confidential pricing deals.
CHT will work with stakeholders over the next 18 months to develop a plan that can be implemented to serve half of all Americans by 2020.
The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement is a national organization representing regional multi-stakeholder groups working to achieve the Triple Aim of better health, better care, and reduced costs through continuous improvement. NRHI and all of its members are non-profit organizations, separate from state government, collaborating directly with physicians, hospitals, health plans, and patients to improve health care through the use of data. www.nrhi.org
About Pacific Business Group on Health
PBGH is a non-profit business coalition focused on improving the quality and affordability of health care. The group includes 60 large health care purchaser members representing more than 10 million employees, retirees, and dependents. www.pbgh.org
About the Laura and John Arnold Foundation
LJAF is a private foundation committed to producing substantial, widespread, and lasting reforms that will maximize opportunities and minimize injustice in our society. LJAF has offices in Houston and New York City. www.arnoldfoundation.org
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