While there is debate about whether publicly reporting quality data has an impact on how the public purchases healthcare or even on patient outcomes — despite showing improving metrics — there is now evidence that it is having an impact on the cost of at least two procedures. The January issue of Health Affairs1 reports that since the inception of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Hospital Compare site, prices for two heart operations — coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) — have increased at slower rates than they did previously.

The researchers looked at rates between 2005 and 2010, straddling the 2007 start date for Hospital Compare. They used states that had implemented their own reporting systems before Hospital Compare was up and running as a control group. The annual rates of increase were 3.9% after Hospital Compare for CABG, versus 10.6% before, and 4.4% for PCI compared to 8.7%.

The theory is that insurers were able to use the site as leverage when negotiating prices.

Reference

  1. Dor A, Encinosa WE, Carey K. Medicare's Hospital Compare quality reports appear to have slowed price increases for two major procedures. Health Aff January 2015 vol. 34 no. 1 71-77