Designing Effective Health Care Quality Transparency Initiatives

Among the many health care quality transparency initiatives introduced in recent years, two state-based programs stand out for thoughtful design, implementation and usable, useful data—CalHospitalCompare, a report card for California hospitals, and Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, a report card for Massachusetts primary care physician groups.

According to this analysis from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), both programs share key elements that contribute to their effectiveness—engaging and collaborating with the provider community from the outset; paying particular attention to the caliber of the quality data reported; presenting the quality data to consumers in formats that are easy to understand and remember; and providing hospitals and physicians with detailed information on their own performance. Quality transparency initiatives that do not focus sufficiently on these key design and implementation elements are unlikely to influence quality improvement in a meaningful way.