ACP: Improved Transparency Requires Reliable Data

Janice Simmons, September 23, 2010

The benefits of increased healthcare transparency hinge on reliable and valid information—specifically in the areas of price and clinical performance, according to a white paper released this week from the American College of Physicians (ACP).

"We believe that increasing transparency in the healthcare system can be beneficial to both patients and physicians," said J. Fred Ralston Jr., MD, president of ACP. "However, unless the transparency information that is collected meets certain criteria it will not accomplish the goal of improving health care."

ACP said that for the potential benefits of healthcare transparency to be realized, the reported information needs to be:

  • Reliable and valid.
  • Transparent in its development.
  • Open to prior review and appeal by the physicians and other health care professionals referenced.
  • Minimally burdensome to the reporting physician or other health care professional.
  • Comprehensible and useful to its intended audience, including a clear statement of its limitations.

While the issue of transparency in price information delivered by providers for a healthcare service seems straightforward, "in actuality it is quite complex," the study said.

Janice Simmons Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at
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