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How transparency leads to better practice

Since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act and it's Physician Payment Sunshine Act provision, which requires all providers to disclose their financial relationships with medical manufacturers, transparency has become even more important in the healthcare industry. The initiative has met a number of challenges, proving that even when it becomes a necessity to achieve transparency the path is not obstacle-free.

According to a report by the National Patient Safety Foundation's Lucian Leape Institute, the key to solving many of the issues with modern day healthcare is a dedication to openness. The research, entitled "Shining a Light: Safer Health Care Through Transparency," was the result of a series of roundtable discussions focusing on transparency between clinicians and patients, among clinicians themselves, among healthcare organizations and between providers and the public.

In a statement to PRWeb Gary Kaplan, M.D., CEO of Virginia Mason Health System, one of the co-chairs of the initiative, stated, "Transparency has been largely overlooked as a patient safety tool, in part because it requires a foundation of a safety culture and strong organizational leadership. The barriers are not necessarily easy to overcome, but we will never truly achieve safe patient care without improvements in transparency in each of the domains we cite."

To increase open communication and a free flow of information the report suggests healthcare leaders take a series of actions:

  • Frequently review and report on performance data.
  • Openly announce membership of organizational boards.
  • Make performance information available to patients through reliable entities.
  • Link promotions and compensation of leaders to transparency results.

When the healthcare industry is open and clear about their processes, care outcomes improve. One way for hospital leaders to commit to transparency is to use programs like Patient Approved, which publicly displays real-time feedback from patients, and gives doctors the opportunity to respond to comments regarding services provided.