At its recent annual meeting, the American Medical Association (AMA) passed two new policies that address the growing interest in healthcare data and price transparency.
Over the past few years, large amounts of healthcare information have increasingly become publicly accessible through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other sources, such as all-payer claims databases, registries, and qualified entities. While more health information is available to the public, much of the released data is not timely or actionable and lacks context, according to the AMA. The two new AMA policies aim to address these limitations, according to the Association. In addition, they support efforts to improve the health literacy of patients so they can understand the healthcare pricing information that they might access.
“Transparency of both cost and quality is needed for patients, physicians, public and private insurers, and other stakeholders throughout the healthcare system to make more informed healthcare decisions,” said AMA President Robert M. Wah, MD, in a statement accompanying information about the vote. “The policies adopted today will help facilitate price and quality transparency for patients and physicians and put into place much needed safeguards that ensure the accuracy and relevance of information provided.”
The new policies also encourage physicians to communicate information about the cost of their professional services to individual patients, while taking into account insurance status and other information where possible. Additionally, they call for working with health plans, public and private entities, and other stakeholders to bring about price and quality transparency for patients and physicians. For more information about AMA efforts around transparency, go to http://bit.ly/1PcygPz.