Recently, two Chicago Tribune articles reported that despite a lot of noise about increasing transparency in the healthcare system, the level of transparency necessary for consumers to comparison shop simply isn't yet a reality. Moreover, even if the information were available, it seems as though patients aren't likely to seek out the data. This has caused some to question what benefit there is to making data available if people aren't even going to use it. However, Healthcare Management and Policy argues that despite setbacks, "patients, insurers and employers all would benefit from the ability to compare complete, up-to-date 'report cards' grading hospital, nursing home and physician performance using standardized criteria".
Brian R. Klepper for HealthLeaders News also thinks that transparency has the potential to save this nation's healthcare system. "Readily available healthcare pricing and performance data will likely accelerate the transition away from fee-for-service and to pay-for-performance reimbursement, which will tie payment to results." This, he believes, will push costs down. In light of all the bad press transparency has gotten lately, it's refreshing to read articles that argue one of healthcare's hottest trends still holds some promise.