2. Increase Transparency and Reporting on Quality and CostsCase in Point: Massachusetts Health Quality Partners
Public reporting of information on the performance of health plans and providers can spur improvements in quality and efficiency by helping consumers make more informed decisions and by stimulating providers and health plans to be more accountable for their results. It can also form the basis for new payment systems that reward providers for excellence and efficiency. Common-wealth Fund surveys indicate that most patients do not have access to the cost and quality information
that would enable them to make informed choices, but they very much want access to such information.(6)
A number of notable initiatives provide purchasers, consumers, and providers themselves with information about quality. The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, or PHC4, an independent state agency created in 1986, is a state-funded initiative to publish comparative data on hospital performance, including costs and complication rates. In 2005 PHC4 was the first organization in the nation to publish data on hospital-acquired infections.
Public reporting of hospital or medical group quality has also advanced in California under the leadership of the Pacific Business Group on Health and the Integrated Healthcare Association, as well as by state government quality reporting efforts in Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.
The Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ), a voluntary collaborative, develops and publicly reports comparative performance information on physician practices, hospitals, and health plans through an interactive Web-based tool. WCHQ has earned credibility among health care providers because the measures are reported in ways that allow member groups to identify variation by physician practice and target areas for improvement.(7)