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Transparency Rules at Mountain States Health Alliance

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 22, 2012

MSHA also shares outcomes data "outside the walls of the organizations so we can compare results and practices so we can all improve together and we take it to an Internet level by placing our results on our Web site," Parsons says. "We were one of the first organizations in the country to do that in 2007."

Rather than throwing out reams of data that might otherwise confuse and frustrate healthcare consumers and their families, Parsons says MSHA uses simple graphics to illuminate findings, puts data in comparative context nationally, by state, and by region, and explains what the data means in plain English.

"Our goal is to be transparent, but there is so [much] conflicting information on Web sites on healthcare, and scores and results and some of it is competitively driven, [that] it can't help but make it difficult for people in our region to understand where they need to go for information," she says.

"So our main motivation was to be transparent to our patients in a way that is easily understood. We gave it the 'mom test.' We figured if our moms could understand it and they aren't healthcare executives, it's at the right level for folks to get the information they need without having to work too hard."

MSHA's success is more evidence of the good things that happen to healthcare providers who share their data—both warts and wonders—with patients, staff, and the outside world.

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