Skip Navigation

Value-Driven Health Care Home

Consumers deserve to know the quality and cost of their health care. Health care transparency provides consumers with the information necessary, and the incentive, to choose health care providers based on value.

Providing reliable cost and quality information empowers consumer choice. Consumer choice creates incentives at all levels, and motivates the entire system to provide better care for less money. Improvements will come as providers can see how their practice compares to others.


Health Care "System"?

The health care "system" in America is not a system. It's a disconnected collection of large and small medical businesses, health care professionals, treatment centers, hospitals, and all who provide support for them. Each player may have its own internal structure for gathering and sharing information, but nothing ties those isolated structures into an interoperable national system capable of making information easily shared and compared.

Interoperable systems are invisible but essential. We have come to depend on many. When you use a cell phone to talk with a friend who uses a different cell service, you are using an interoperable system. Your ATM card is good not only at virtually all banks nationwide, but thanks to a secure interoperable system, you can use it to buy everything from groceries to gasoline.

These systems work because the telephone and banking sectors have developed methods and standards that allow participants in their systems to easily access and exchange information while the companies operate independently and compete vigorously.

Cell phone providers are keenly aware of their competitor's quality of service. Banks closely monitor competitive rates. Customers are able to compare both quality and cost. Value-driven consumer choice, in turn, drives greater competition and increasingly better service.

America's health care system is embracing transparency; by doing so, it is creating a powerful force for change.

top of page

Transparency Leads to Change

Transparency is a broad-scale initiative enabling consumers to compare the quality and price of health care services, so they can make informed choices among doctors and hospitals.

In cooperation with America's largest employers and the medical profession, this initiative is laying the foundation for pooling and analyzing information about procedures, hospitals and physician services. When this data foundation is in place, regional health information alliances will turn the raw data into useful information for consumers.

top of page

Steps to Transparency
  1. The federal government, individual private employers and health plans commit to sharing information on price and quality in health care. Together, the government and major employers provide health care coverage for some 70 percent of Americans.
  2. The federal government and individual private employers commit to quality and price standards developed with the medical community. This will help guarantee a fair and accurate view of the quality of care delivered by individual providers, as well as providing consistent measures for quality.
  3. The federal government and individual private employers commit to standards for health information technology (IT). Health IT will be important for gathering and using the best information for consumers. These standards are also crucial to the goal of achieving electronic health records for all Americans.
  4. The federal government and individual private employers commit to offering plans that reward consumers who exercise choice based on high quality of care and competitive price for health care services.

top of page

Why Transparency Is Important

For every other purchase that they make, consumers can easily get information about price and quality. When consumers have this information they can make better decisions. Consumers should share in the savings, in the form of lower premiums and more effective care, when they take an active role in health care decisions.

top of page

Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®.

Content for this site is maintained by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation.