The Role of Transparency in Health Care

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<p>Injecting transparency about costs and quality of health services into the health care system could help providers, insurers, government agencies, and patients, say Karen Davis, president of The Commonwealth Fund, and Fund senior program officer Sara R. Collins in the April <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=21637&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Faboutus%2Faboutus%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D365285%26%23doc365285">"From the President" column.</a><br><br>Yet, Davis and Collins argue that it is unreasonable to expect health markets to perform like markets for other goods and services. Greater cost-sharing, through health savings accounts (HSAs) coupled with high-deductible health plans, has been proposed as a way to make patients behave more like consumers. But people enrolled in these plans are far more likely than those with more comprehensive plans to delay, avoid, or skip needed care because of cost.<br><br>The authors argue that while more information on health care costs, quality, and the total bills is needed, the greatest promise for change lies in information and incentives for health care providers, not for patients.<br><br>You can also watch a <a href="/usr_doc/site_docs/videos/KD_Transparency.wmv">short video</a> in which Karen Davis provides an overview of these critical issues.</p>