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Transparency in health care: Are you ready?

  • June 29, 2011
If you could know the cost for a chest X-ray in advance, would you choose a clinic that charges $121 or one that charges $1,519?

If you could know the cost for a chest X-ray in advance, would you choose a clinic that charges $121 or one that charges $1,519? For heart-bypass surgery, would you choose a hospital with the best possible outcome measures for $45,000 or one with the lowest possible rating that costs $32,000? How would you weigh the hospital’s national reputation in your decision?

bob_signs_siteHealth-care expert Greg Carlson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Services Administration in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions, believes patients would choose the hospital with the better “value proposition.”

“You compare price and quality when it comes to major decisions like buying a car,” said Carlson.“Why would you do any less with your health?”

Carlson says the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act from 2010 is bringing the transparency to health-care organizations that will better enable patients to look beyond their backyard for quality care.

“For many consumers, health care is not going to be local,” said Carlson. “People will travel to receive cost-effective, quality care, including traveling to a foreign country.”

Carlson says the department’s 31st National Symposium for Healthcare Executives will focus on planning for this transition. The meeting is July 27-29 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Sandestin, Fla., and early registration ends July 10.

Keynote speaker Jim Rice, FACHE, vice chair of the Governance Institute, will explore the journey to more transparent and accountable care. Speakers also will examine the effects of transparency on all aspects of health-care organizations and consumers:

  • Linda Kloss, M.A., president of Kloss Strategic Advisors Ltd., examines unintended consequences and associated risks of health IT that must be planned and managed.
  • Craig Deao, M.H.A., research & development leader for the Studer Group, will address closing the gap between organizational transparency and individual leaders’ performance.
  • Hugh Greeley, managing director of the HG Healthcare Consultants, encourages organizations to re-analyze the traditional concern for data about physicians to become more transparent.
  • Diane Kelly, Dr.P.H., M.B.A., R.N., adjunct assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will show administrators and clinical executives how to draw upon the latest multidisciplinary thinking to provide skills to be a quality champion.
  • Michael McMillan, executive director, market and network services at the Cleveland Clinic will talk about bundled payments.
  • Stephen McHale, chief chairman and executive officer of Explorys, will discuss organizational decisions with population data including diabetes management.

Gerald Glandon, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Health Services Administration, says the symposium is a unique professional development and networking opportunity.

“The symposium is independent of any one professional organization,” said Glandon. “Attendees can earn continuing education credits for their respective professions and interact with both clinical and administrative colleagues from across healthcare disciplines.”