Hospital Executives Can Lead Transparency Movement

Karen Cheung-Larivee | FierceHealthFinance | February 15, 2013

Transparency of healthcare costs and outcomes rests on hospital leaders' shoulders.

A JAMA Internal Medicine study released Monday offered some disappointing news that hospitals are still struggling to provide pricing information. More than 100 U.S. facilities could not provide a consistent quote for a hip surgery, FierceHealthFinance reported. And for those that could, prices ranged from $11,100 to $125,798.

One way to curb variation is a cultural movement that comes from the top of the chain. At California's Scripps Health, CEO Chris Van Gorder has led a campaign to reduce "unnecessary variation," he told Kaiser Health News.

For example, Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla used to require doctors to deliver nitric oxide to patients of cardiac valve and coronary artery bypass graft procedures. But the health system realized that Mercy Hospital in San Diego didn't. By eliminating the requirement (although a physician can still order it) and standardizing care across the system, Scripps saves $400,000 per year, Kaiser Health News noted...