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transparency (health or medical care related)


Updated March 25, 2008


When used in a medical or healthcare setting, the word transparency refers to the reporting of medical errors, pricing, never events, or other pieces of information that medical facilities, manufacturers, and providers have resisted sharing to date.

Patients and health insurers want access to this information to help them make decisions. For example, patients might choose a doctor based on a successful track record, might refuse to be treated in a hospital that had a bad record of hospital-acquired infections, or might make provider decisions based on a price list for basic services.

Facilities and practitioners resist providing this kind of information when it is negative, or when it will give away competitive information, because it may impact their profitability.

Manufacturers and distributors resist transparency when they want to obscure either the origin of a drug or device, or when the path it has taken to the marketplace is unclear.

Legislation has been passed in several states in the U.S. to make some of these details more readily available -- more transparent -- to the people who wish to access it.

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