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Healthcare stakeholders are touting the benefits of transparency, but to see real change, we also need clarity.
Everywhere we turn, we hear about the importance of transparency in healthcare. In light of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) disclosure rules and with the spotlight squarely placed on the industry, health plans and hospital systems, clinicians, policymakers, industry leaders and media outlets are all touting the benefits of accessible, reliable healthcare data. But while transparency is an important goal, it is only the first step toward driving improvement in our healthcare system. To see real change, we also need clarity.
What is the difference between transparency and clarity? Think of the pile of dirty dishes in your kitchen after a holiday meal. You can see that they need to be cleaned, dried and put away, but how do you start to make sense out of the chaotic mess? Now, picture those same dishes clean, with the glasses and silverware neatly arrayed on a beautifully set table. That’s clarity. Clarity means taking data elements and making them actionable by adding the context necessary to inform sound decision-making for all stakeholders-payors, plan sponsors, purchasers, researchers, practitioners and consumers.
Moving from healthcare transparency to healthcare clarity requires three essential elements:
With a shared language, shared knowledge and reliable data, we can achieve clarity for the entire healthcare sector. And when we achieve clarity for all participants, everyone wins. Insurers and providers have more meaningful dialogues. Consumers are armed with actionable information. And insurers, providers, plan sponsors and policymakers can come together to develop new, innovative models of healthcare delivery and payment. Clarity helps build the confidence and trust that can unite all stakeholders in developing and improving the system. By insisting on clarity-and not just transparency-we can drive real change throughout the healthcare industry.
Robin Gelburd is President of FAIR Health, Inc.