Ex-HHS head Donna Shalala: Data sharing with payers requires trust

By Mark Terry

One of the underpinnings of healthcare reform is the idea that by releasing and analyzing healthcare data--population data, test volume, readmission rates, etc.--changes can be made that will lead to lower costs, greater efficiency and higher quality patient care. After all, as most lean and quality improvement methods preach, "If you can't measure it, you can't evaluate it."

At a recent eMerge Americas digital business conference held in Miami Beach, Donna Shalala, former Clinton Administration secretary for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, spoke out on why healthcare providers are reluctant to share data with payers, InformationWeek reported. 

"We know if we turn over every piece of data to you, you do your analysis--and we get paid less," Shalala, who currently serves as president of the University of Miami, said, according to InformationWeek.

Shalala was joined on the panel by Patrick Geraghty, CEO of health insurer Florida Blue. In response to her concerns over lower reimbursement, Geraghty said that neither providers nor payers have enough data on their own to make accountable care work. "What we're seeing today is that many collaborators are coming together where the health systems and the payers are combining their information, combining their view of the data," he said.

Shalala and Geraghty discussed the role of technology for patients in improving care efficiency. Shalala, in particular, talked about the use of smartphones in helping patients to conduct self-examinations and undergo remote consultations with physicians. Geraghty said that use of such tools will only continue to increase, ultimately helping doctors and insurers "make more logical decisions" when it comes to providing and reimbursing for care.

In a special report published in February, FierceMobileHealthcare examined the role of mobile technology in accountable care efforts. Among the efforts highlighted was use of a mobile care coordination platform by a California-based ACO to create virtual care teams around patients with a goal of reducing readmisisons.

What's more, a report published in January by IDC Health Insights cited the importance of integrating claims and clinical data for the success of ACOs.

To learn more:
- read the InformationWeek article

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