"There can be a lot of value in releasing payment data, especially if it is focused on ensuring and improving quality of care," Blackwelder says. "The key continues to be the correct use. The trouble with data is [that] it's numbers. We emphasized the real need to ensure appropriate context. We want to make sure they just don't release numbers because you can get a lot of assessments or conclusions drawn that may not be true unless you have appropriate context and consideration."
Shari Erickson , vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs at the American College of Physicians, says the college also embraces "the move towards more data transparency overall in the healthcare system. That is going to be needed particularly as we move into this bold new world of value-base payments. You really are going to need more transparency to do that effectively."
Like Blackwelder, however, Erickson says putting the data in its proper context is critical. " There are definitely some protections and caveats that should be looked at with any data source that is being reported on, " she says.