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.




Published: November 11, 2014

About Nancy A. Giunto

Nancy A. Giunto is executive director of the Washington Health Alliance. Ms. Giunto served 14 years as executive director of Foster Pepper law firm in Seattle. She has had a long career in health care, with experience at National Institutes of Health in Washington D.C. and the American Hospital Association. She has held leadership positions at Intermountain Health Care and Providence Health & Services.

2 Responses to “Innovation, data needed to drive improvement in our health care system”

  1. Bill Poppy

    Where can we obtain more information around coalition working on the APCD?

    • Emily Inlow-Hood, Washington Health Alliance

      Thanks for asking about the Coalition for Health Care Cost Transparency. The coalition will be launching a website next week where you can learn more about the work of the coalition. However, in the meantime, please contact Patrick Connor, NFIB at patrick.connor@nfib.org who would be happy to give you more information.

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