The Murkiness of Transparency


In a recent Health Affairs blog post, titled “CMS Contractors’ Survey Research Illustrates Four Health Care Transparency Paradoxes” author Jackson Williams reviews four major paradoxes of healthcare transparency that emerged from consumer surveys and focus groups including:

Physicians, not websites, are the most trusted source of information about healthcare

 58% of respondents reported physicians and nurses are their “most trusted” resource when choosing a doctor

Consumers are ambivalent about quality information from government sources

 At least one in six respondents reported being “skeptical” of the government’s ability to compile information

Quality measures don’t report what consumers want to know most

 Nearly 50% of respondents chose treatment effectiveness as the most important aspect of quality but CMS quality sites do not report this

Many consumers do not feel empowered to act upon ratings

 Most respondents were unaware that they could choose which providers they see and where

If current transparency tools are not successful in driving consumers to higher quality providers, what alternatives could be successful? FHC’s current work with the Connecticut SIM Initiative looks to Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID) as a potential solution for driving employees towards high-value providers and services through financial incentives. By using claims data to identify the most relevant health needs among employees, V-BID helps the right consumers, get the right care, at the right time from the right person. Could the implementation of V-BID plans give consumers the needed push towards more effective, appropriate and affordable care? What do you think?

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