Innovation, data needed to drive improvement in our health care system

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Innovation, data needed to drive improvement in our health care system

Photo of Nancy Giunto.
Executive Director Nancy A. Giunto on innovation in health care.

Letter from our executive director

Sometimes relatively simple innovations can inspire big changes. For example, Swedish Medical Center, featured in our latest Spotlight on Improvement, is revamping its “daily labs” process—saving money, reducing discomfort and improving safety for their patients. This effort benefits consumers and providers and shows how delivery systems are committed to transforming the health care system.

What is standard business practice in any other sector, sometimes becomes a complex undertaking in health care, requiring a bold vision. An example of this is The Everett Clinic’s decision to voluntarily start posting prices of common hospital procedures publicly. This decision is an example of disruptive innovation, one that will help change the existing health care market. The Seattle Times rightly applauded the move as one that helps consumers make better choices for their own health care.

The Everett Clinic’s decision is an early step in the movement for a more accessible and affordable health care system. But we still need everyone to be transparent about pricing and quality to make the big changes our state needs. Without price and quality information, purchasers and providers can’t make the informed decisions they need to help drive improvement in the system.

Fortunately, Washington is moving toward making that information broadly available. Legislation passed earlier this year established the principle of an All-Payer Claims Database (APCD). A broad coalition is now working to ensure that the further legislation will make the APCD fully functional.  An APCD will tell us how our system is really performing, where value in health care resides, and how we can work together to improve care in our state. We can’t improve what we can’t measure.

Thank you for your support.




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