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Vital Directions from the National Academy of Medicine
October 25, 2016

Fostering Transparency in Outcomes, Quality, Safety, and Costs

Author Affiliations
  • 1Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Kaiser Permanente, Pasadena, California
JAMA. 2016;316(16):1661-1662. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14039

Public reporting of health care system performance is promoted as a means for enhancing the value of health care by improving quality and lowering costs.1 Transparency can improve value by engaging physicians and health care organizations in quality improvement by appealing to their professionalism and stimulating competition among organizations, or by providing patients with information that enables them to select physicians and health centers that offer higher-quality services, lower-cost services, or both.2 There are several examples of success, such as the reporting of cardiac surgical outcomes from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons registry, reporting of measures of health care–associated infections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and measures of patient experience,3 but little evidence of broad and sustained improvements.

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