Center for Healthcare Transparency Profile: Ask Me Anything with Kristin Majeska

Kristin Majeska is Senior Director, Center for Healthcare Transparency.

Q: What does Data & Transparency mean to you?

A: It sounds deceptively simple but it doesn’t exist today. For me, healthcare transparency means that patients, family members, clinicians and the employers and purchasers who pay for the lion’s share of healthcare each have basic, useful and believable information about the quality of care patients are likely to receive and experience from different doctors and hospitals and whether that care is higher or lower cost than others. E.g. we all have the same information we can access when we buy an electric toothbrush! Here’s a fun 2 minute video that says it much better than I can.

Q: Can you share more about your role and organization? What efforts do you/your team pursue to advance transparency in Healthcare?

A: Alongside colleagues from NRHI and the Pacific Business Group on Health, I’ve been shepherding the planning phase of the Center for Healthcare Transparency, an ambitious effort to put credible, actionable information about the relative quality, cost and patient experience performance of providers into the hands of purchasers, providers and consumers across 50% of the US by 2020 through a nationwide network of independent regional entities. We have had the privilege of tapping the experience and expertise of thirteen regional health improvement collaboratives on our design team, of overseeing successful pilots of claims/clinical data integration and patient experience measurement innovations and of learning from the wisdom of private, nonprofit and federal leaders on our Executive, User and Technical Advisory Committees.

Q: What advice can you offer for others who seek to incorporate transparency in their work?

A: Get started! Make sure your information is accurate and used appropriately but don’t let the goal of perfect information get in the way of getting solid information out there – it’s the best way for everyone to get comfortable with performance reporting and see it as an asset to us all. I’d also always recommend getting everyone involved up-front and taking a methodical, multi-stakeholder approach – it can feel like slow-going at first but when you have the buy-in that you’re measuring the right things and trust in your methodology (blackboxes and transparency don’t mix) the process of getting to public reporting is must faster and key actors are more likely to actually use your information (the whole point) as much.

Q: What are some of your favorite resources/tools around this subject?

A: I like to hear from the folks who are actually doing the groundbreaking work, so I’d recommend checking out the videos on CHT’s vimeo page or the interviews that encapsulated in recent CHT newsletters here.

Q: Is there a particular person (co-worker, speaker, mentor) that you look to for thought leadership on transparency? Who is at the forefront of this work?

A: NRHI’s CEO and CHT Co-Chair Elizabeth Mitchell has been driving transparency efforts that has actually led to cost and quality improvements for many years. I am also inspired by the leadership, courage, and frankly, smarts, of colleagues at CMS and ONC who are moving this work forward and able to leverage the enormous scale of the federal government to do so. We’re honored to count Patrick Conway, Chief Medical Officer, and Niall Brennan, Chief Data Officer of CMS and Kevin Larsen and Kelly Cronin of ONC and Karen DeSalvo of HHS/ONC among our allies and advisors

Q: How does Transparency impact the greater Healthcare improvement movement?

A: You can’t fix what you don’t know! One of the most exciting aspects of this work is the “aha’s” that come when physicians and care teams see that they have an opportunity to improve on a given performance measure and can turn to colleagues and ask “how did you do that?”

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