Transparency should be an important factor in improving medical care in America. C-Level officers in corporations have dashboards that give them information on operations and performance on a moment's notice. Hospitals need them too. And they need to make data available to the public as a way of forcing improvement.
That's a prescription for change from a Johns Hopkins cancer surgeon named Mark Makary, who outlined his ideas in a book published this year called Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care.
"A consumer should be able to look up the percentage of hospitalized patients who are readmitted to a hospital within ninety days, categorized by the discharging diagnosis," writes Dr. Makary. In the trade, it's called the bounceback rate and it's a good starting point to distinguish the good from the bad. Scores can be adjusted for patient disease complexity, overcoming the big reason hospitals like Boston's Harvard teaching hospitals want little to do with outcome scoring....