Transparency is considered an essential element to improving the quality of health care. Without transparency, patients cannot make informed decisions. Without transparency, it is not possible to have a culture of safety.
What is transparency?
Transparency is defined as the free and uninhibited flow of information that is open to the scrutiny of others. (2) Some believe that transparency can be used as an effective tool to help boost patient safety in multiple ways such as increasing accountability, facilitating improvements in quality and safety, promoting trust between providers and patients, and encouraging patient choice. Many healthcare organizations have their increased efforts to improve transparency and sharing of publicly reported performance measures. However, there is more work to be done and as with any change comes fears associated with creating a culture of improved safety. (3)
What are some of the barriers to transparency?
Barriers to transparency are deep-rooted within the healthcare industry, just a few of these include:
Although there are many barriers, there is a lot that healthcare organizations can do to begin moving toward improved transparency:
Considering all of the obstacles to achieving true transparency, it is not an easy feat and will certainly not happen overnight. Success requires the collaborative support and commitment from just about everyone, from executive leadership to physicians, and the board. Transparency is not only the right thing to do; it is one of the most effective ways to make improvements within a healthcare system, across the entire care continuum. (2)