This issue brief details “lessons learned” about how to effectively measure and report on the cost and value of specific aspects of medical care delivered by hospitals and physicians. Lessons Learned in Public Reporting: Crossing the Cost and Efficiency Frontier is the third installment in a series that shares the challenges and successes from Aligning Forces for Quality communities that have begun public reporting efforts to lift the quality of health care in 16 communities across the country.
Public reporting of cost and efficiency measures can help engage a community in a conversation about the value of their health care that might otherwise be missed. However, the topic is difficult for consumers as well as providers and purchasers. Before taking on the challenge of compiling and sharing this information, community organizations must make important decisions about which measures to report and how to effectively deliver the messages. This paper explores difficult, hot-button issues such as how shortening the average length of stay in a hospital can be perceived by various stakeholders—from pushing people out of the hospital to an important cost-saving step.