Using data to move toward transparency: Six things health care providers can do

risk mattersIn our previous blog, “RISK now matters to health care providers”, we introduced the RISKMATTERS publication from Optum and touched on the latest conversation in the spring edition—health care providers managing financial risk becoming data-rich and insight-strong. And a new trend report in the spring edition, Transparency becoming health care’s new normal, kicks off the discussion.

With high-deductible health plans increasing in popularity, cost and accountability for outcomes will become more important to consumers seeking medical providers. Additionally, provider organizations managing risk-based contracts will have additional motive to increase transparency to earn trust and instill loyalty with patients.

As the value of cost transparency for health care providers becomes more apparent, many organizations may start asking how to most effectively implement it. To prepare for an escalating demand for transparency, insights from your organization’s data can help you consider the following actions:

  • Understand true costs: The shift towards value-based reimbursements makes it imperative that your organization determines exactly what care costs to deliver. To coin a phrase, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. To understand the cost of care, collect, analyze and leverage data from throughout your system and from all of your physicians.
  • Win with quality: Reputations used to be made through word of mouth and history. In the new health care economy, outcomes will help determine reputations. To gain a competitive advantage, start making information about quality of care available to consumers.
  • Organize around your patients: Focus on clarity for cost, especially when it comes to their out-of-pocket expenses. Doing so can improve consumer loyalty and limit your risk by avoiding unexpected and unaffordable costs.
  • Focus on prevention: Emphasize the value of regular visits and personal accountability to your patients. Consistent consumers that can afford the services will help provide more sustainability in a value-based system.
  • Become transparent: It may sound redundant, but transparency requires transparency. Open your organizational reporting on quality and cost to private companies, insurers and employers, and not just to Medicare. This will allow your organization to compete on value instead of simply focusing on price.
  • Data, data, data: Leverage your organizational resources to make your data more useful as it relates to becoming more transparent. Collaborate to build your database and improve data inputs.

These are just a few ideas. For even more insights into transparency, view the full trend report in the spring edition of RISKMATTERS, and join the conversation at

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