Publicly reporting comprehensive quality and cost data: a health care system's transparency initiative

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2005 Oct;31(10):573-84. doi: 10.1016/s1553-7250(05)31075-0.


Background: Transparency in health care, including the public reporting of health care results, is an expanding and unstoppable phenomenon. Health care systems have an opportunity to: (1) be proactive and accountable for the care they provide, (2) help patients learn more about their condition as a supplement to understanding the performance measures, and (3) use public reporting to foster process of care and outcome improvement initiatives. An overview is provided of the first 22 months of a transparency initiative at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC).

Launching the transparency initiative: An interdisciplinary operations group works with the various clinical programs--both providers and patients--to identify what quality and cost measures are most desired by patients and what measures are the focus of the clinical program's internal measurement and reporting processes. The measures are presented on the DHMC Web site, with access to additional resources, such as clinical decision aids.

Discussion: A variety of factors are important to the transparency initiative--senior leaders' perceptions, risk management issues, resources required for the design and maintenance of the initiative, and developing both methodological protocols and technical systems.

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking / organization & administration
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S.
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Internet
  • Mandatory Reporting*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / economics
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • United States