With the growing emphasis on consumer engagement in health care, industry leaders have begun looking for innovative ways of measuring and representing the value of health care to their consumers.

Understanding the complexities of this challenge, The Health Collaborative hosted a group of some of the nation’s Health Information Technology (HIT) experts in Cincinnati on Aug. 12-13. Led by Jason W. Buckner, Senior Vice President of Informatics at The Health Collaborative, the group explored strategies for uniting the health care community around the goal of making data on quality and cost of health care transparent for consumers.

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The two-day symposium featured a white paper review and panel sessions discussing opportunities for increased transparency across the health care system, focusing on utilization of data for improved outcomes, and broadening interoperability.

The roundtable presented and discussed The Health Collaborative’s white paper on increasing transparency on the relative cost and quality of health care. This paper was based upon findings from a pilot project combining clinical and claims data. As part of the pilot, The Health Collaborative is working to answer critical questions that will enable organizations to reach the goal of increasing transparency on “the relative cost and quality of healthcare services available to 50 percent of the U.S. population by 2020.”

Specifically, the project described in the white paper investigated new methods for collecting and linking quality and cost data, and the best strategies to present this value-based information in a meaningful way for consumers.

The panel sessions, Beyond Meaningful Use & Broadening Interoperability and HIE Evolution to Vx, engaged attendees in discussions on best practices in quality reporting, interoperability, and navigating the evolving health information technology landscape. Within this robust discussion, several themes emerged:

  • The Value in Measuring: There is real value in measuring quality and cost of health care, for both payers and consumers. Clinical quality measures are a helpful tool for identifying gaps in care. However some challenges still remain in resources spent on data collection, EHR capabilities and cost, the lack of a standard for cost data, as well as varying local, state and federal regulations with respect to behavioral health standards.
  • Moving from a System of Measures to a Measurement System: While there has been progress in measure standardization, silos still exist. There is a need for conversations with the people “on the ground” delivering the health care services about what measures matter and impact patient care in a positive manner.
  • Go with the Goers: There are opportunities for communities to work together and find common points of interest. Some areas of the country are already working toward creating an environment for abundance of data to flow into the supply chain.
  • VX – Version Next: In the ever-changing world of HIEs, measures will continue to evolve. It is important to recognize this, maintain a flexible environment and ensure multiple iterations of data analysis occur so the measures selected allow us to take action.

Moreover, the successful symposium produced valuable discussion on Cincinnati’s unique opportunities to drive further innovation in health care and health information technology. With five adult health systems in a metropolitan area of 2.2 million people, and a proven track record for successful data sharing, The Health Collaborative will continue driving these innovations as a model for increasing health care transparency in Cincinnati and beyond.

Click “Play” below for a photo slideshow of the two-day series of events:

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