CEO: MA transparency effort needs update

The new Massachusetts healthcare quality website takes a step in the right direction, but the data it uses is rather limited and not very up-to-date, making it far less useful than it could be, suggests Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in a recent post on his blog. First, he notes, the state is using billing data, which only allows it to present quality information on a single procedure, even a patient may have had more than one procedure simultaneously. Another issue is that the way procedures are coded in the state's data doesn't always allow facilities and doctors to present their actual treatments accurately, as this approach sometimes excludes information. Yet another issue is that the data the state uses is fairly old, he says. To address this problem, Levy suggests that the state set up a password-protected Web site and allow facilities to update data on their own, with unverified data clearly marked. If these changes are made, the site could be useful to consumers, but otherwise they're not getting the real story, he contends.

Get more of Levy's thoughts:
- read his blog entry