By Krista Stock, Vice President of Quality and Transformation, HCGC
Earlier this month, HCGC hosted a webinar focused on exploring price and quality transparency. Jeffrey Geppert of Battelle Memorial Institute and Dominic Lorusso and Lewis Baez of FAIR Health presented about how price and quality transparency have evolved and where there is opportunity for improvement. If you missed it, you can review slides and resources by clicking here.
HCGC continues to ask ourselves and the community, “does higher quality equate to lower costs in healthcare?” Related, we have been pondering questions like, “is there more we can be doing as a community with cost and quality transparency efforts?” And, “what data are most useful for consumers, employers, providers, enrollees, and others?” We believe these strategic questions will help guide HCGC improvement efforts in partnership with the community.
Since 2014, HCGC has been leading the quality transparency project with our provider partners to collect and share quality data for specific measures that they collaboratively identify as important for patient care. The performance data are shared among the project partners to help one another better understand how we perform as a region and to identify opportunities for improvement.
We initially learned from this project that the process of collecting the data is difficult. Information systems, such as electronic health records, were not primarily developed to support data collection of the clinical care processes. But, they continue to evolve and improve to help providers monitor gaps in care and ways to improve how care is delivered. Beyond the data collection, project partners learned that being transparent is a positive experience and allows all of us to gain new insights into how we can work together to make improvements within our organizations and across our community. Project organization partners, representing 140 primary care practice sites across Central Ohio, currently include:
Berger Health Partners
Central Ohio Primary Care
Heart of Ohio Health Center
Hilliard Family Medicine
Holzer Health System
Lower Lights Christian Community Health Center
Mount Carmel Medical Group
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center-Primary Care
We have new providers joining this project every year and look forward to broadening the impact this work has across the region. To learn more about who participates and the collaborative work these providers are doing in the community, please go to our website or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
During our webinar earlier this month, we heard that cost data are difficult to find. Recent price transparency efforts and mandates for hospitals to post their prices online are a good first step, but don’t necessarily provide a clear picture of what a patient might actually pay for a service. What can consumers do? One resource for getting cost estimates for specific healthcare services is FAIR Health. Beyond that, talking with their health plan, employer, and provider are good ways to start better understanding price and costs and to potentially avoid surprise medical bills. Recently, HCGC created a data subcommittee of our Board to look at issues of claims data, quality data, and engagement of community employers to see if there are ways we can all collaborate and translate various data sources into useable information for all of us.
We are excited to continue supporting transparency efforts in our community and we hope that others will join these efforts. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out and become involved.