A story by Mark Hollmer in today's Boston Business Journal summarizes a recent report by the Mass. Hospital Association, entitled Hospitals Rate Health Plans: A Critical Look at Performance Variation. I'm told that the full report will be on the MHA's website on Monday. Here's an excerpt of Mr. Hollmer's article:
Hospitals prefer to deal with local health plans over their national counterparts. But Bay State providers still want them to try harder to reduce inefficiency and extra costs, according to a new survey released Friday by an industry trade group.
"What we found is that no one plan is really performing at the top at every attribute," said Lynn Nicholas, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association. "But all plans have strengths and weaknesses, which provides a great opportunity to learn from those who do it well in an effort to improve the field overall."
...[H]ospital executives said they want insurers to update and distribute more evidence-based clinical guidelines to help promote more cost-effective care. They also want health plans to better educate their members about their insurance and obligations so they can make more informed consumer decisions.
I am sure this report will be viewed as self-serving by the insurance companies, but the points made and the language used are remarkably similar to the comments those companies often make about hospitals. My conclusion: Both segments of the health care industry have a long way to go. Transparency in both sectors would go a long way towards self-improvement.
In that regard, let's do an experiment. Check out the websites of your favorite insurance companies and hospitals. See how many have adopted quantifiable audacious goals for quality improvement, patient satisfaction, or efficiency -- and how many post their actual operating results to hold themselves accountable? (If you find some that do, please submit their links as a comment.)