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Jul 14, 2022

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Blog

High-Quality Care and the Need for Transparency in Healthcare

Patients often face a dizzying number of options when choosing a doctor or health system. Being transparent about your hospital’s expertise and quality of care can help patients appoint with confidence.

Healthcare can be a complex journey. From sorting out insurance coverage to searching for a specialist treating their unique condition, today’s patients are constantly searching for answers. However, a recent McKinsey survey found that over 60 percent of patients say they don’t receive enough information from health systems to help them find high-quality care. This lack of transparency makes the patient journey more complex and can compromise the hospital’s reputation.

Information transparency is a critical aspect of high-quality care. Patients want to feel confident and comfortable communicating their personal needs, inquiries, and concerns to healthcare professionals. However, this can only happen if doctors foster an open, honest, and supportive environment. Patients find transparency necessary, so your health system should, too. Let’s take a deeper look into why.

Why Transparency Matters in Healthcare

When healthcare consumers have the information they need at their disposal, it can drastically influence the kinds of decisions they make. In the same McKinsey study, 90 percent of respondents chose lower-cost, in-network practices with an average rating instead of higher-cost, higher-quality alternatives when provided sufficient information during their healthcare search. Also, most respondents were willing to change their primary practice if a series of negative reviews surfaced. 

Every patient has different criteria for selecting a health system, and they can’t effectively weigh their options without access to as much information as possible. Transparent hospitals can build a reputation for openness, reliability, and trust that converts new prospects and inspires loyalty from existing patients.   

In some cases, information transparency is a matter of life and death. Research shows that frequency of treatment—or the level of experience a doctor or specialist has with a particular procedure or health condition—can determine a patient’s risk of complications and death. Frequency of treatment matters because while a person needing a knee replacement may be able to find several highly-rated orthopedic surgeons in their area, one orthopedic surgeon may have more experience with knee replacements while another may be more experienced at hip replacements. Patients, especially those needing specialized treatments or procedures, need easy access to frequency of treatment information so they can find the most qualified doctor to help them get well.

The need for cost transparency is also on the rise. 14 percent of consumers struggle to pay their medical bills—with or without insurance—and 75 percent of patients research healthcare costs before settling on a doctor or health system. Unfortunately, hospitals don’t always make it easy for patients to find cost information. Despite the CMS Price Transparency Rule that went into effect for all U.S. hospitals in 2021, only 14 percent of hospitals have complied as of January 2022. CMS levied the first fines for non-compliance in June 2022, so we anticipate more cost data becoming available in the near future.

Whether it’s breaking down treatment costs, highlighting doctors who have the most experience with a particular condition, or simply making healthcare information easier to find, transparency gives patients the confidence and support necessary to make the best health decisions. That’s why Healthgrades has taken the guesswork out of finding the right doctor and hospital.

High-Quality Care and Transparency Go Hand in Hand

At Healthgrades, we understand quality and transparency are key differentiators between health systems. Here’s a closer look at how our site promotes transparency in healthcare: 

Insight Into Health System and Healthcare Professional Performance

Physician profiles on Healthgrades make it easy to compare doctors based on their experience with specific conditions and procedures. Patient reviews on physician profiles also offer a glimpse into what patients can expect from a doctor, and that transparency has enormous converting power. 84 percent of patients check online reviews before choosing a doctor, and physicians with 7-12 reviews on their profile receive 5x more appointment requests than physicians without reviews. 

Healthcare professionals can bolster existing relationships with patients and show prospects that they’ll take their inputs seriously by claiming their profiles on Healthgrades. Physicians should always keep their profiles up to date with current information about procedures performed, open hours, and contact information. We also recommend that healthcare professionals curate their profiles with special extras like their care philosophy to let patients know what to expect and determine if they’ll be a good fit.  Healthgrades’ Patient Engagement Resources also make it easy for healthcare professionals to solicit feedback and engage with patients online, creating an open and honest environment.  

Research-Backed Clinical Quality Ratings

Choosing the right hospital is just as important as selecting the right doctor. Healthgrades’s hospital star ratings and awards—based on performance data, not perception—help patients make informed decisions about where they seek care. Consider our knee replacement example from earlier, but at a hospital level. Healthgrades’ Speciality Excellence Awards show that the risk of having a complication during a knee replacement surgery is 74 percent lower at a hospital with a 5-star rating than it is at a hospital with a 1-star rating. Knowing a hospital’s rating can make all the difference for a patient needing knee surgery.  

Healthgrades conducts extensive comparative analysis annually to rate and recognize hospitals across the country for their outstanding performance. We objectively evaluate hospital quality based on clinical outcomes for the most common procedures and conditions and analysis of over 45 million Medicare claims from nearly 4,500 hospitals nationwide. Our data is also risk-adjusted per your patient population’s clinical comorbidities and demographics. From America’s top 250 hospitals and specialty-specific ratings to patient experience and safety, Healthgrades has been helping hospitals celebrate clinical success for over 20 years.

If your hospital has been recognized for its high-quality care, you unlock more opportunities to engage with and convert quality-conscious healthcare consumers. Healthgrades profiles serve as a virtual display case for your accolades so current and prospective patients can see where your hospital excels.

Embrace Transparency with Healthgrades

Transparency is vital in any consumer relationship but critical in healthcare. At Healthgrades, we’re committed to taking the guesswork out of finding care. Our platform promotes transparency by providing patients with verified patient reviews, physician profiles, hospital quality ratings, and medically-reviewed healthcare content. With these resources at their disposal, patients can more easily find the hospital that suits their needs and feel confident making choices about their health.

Millions of healthcare consumers visit Healthgrades annually to find the right care at the right hospital! Contact us today to learn more about how Healthgrades’ advertising and quality solutions can help you provide patients with the transparency they want.