When the benefits manager for the largest manufacturer in Berks County was preparing for his recent surgery, he thought it was a good opportunity to test the transparency of the data that he needed to access.
These data would serve as the information that would help him to make the right decision on the best place to go for the surgery and at the best cost. Johnston, of East Penn Manufacturing in Lyon Station, was disappointed at the lack of quality in the health care data that was available to him.
“We as employers are asked to have our population engaged,” Johnston said. “But some data doesn’t show enough quality.”
Johnston told his story on Wednesday afternoon to more than 100 area business people at the Healthcare Systems Engineering Symposium at Lehigh University’s Iacocca Hall in Bethlehem. The audience was made up of those who share a stake in the health care industry and a need to see more transparency in available health care data.
Johnston was one of four panel speakers who spoke about overcoming the challenges of transparency in health care. Greg Kile of Lehigh Valley Health Network, Avi Mukherjee of Geneia (subsidiary of Capital BlueCross) and Dale Prestipino of Accolade in Plymouth Meeting joined Johnston to speak about initiatives their companies are taking in order to ensure that employers, employees and consumers are being exposed to enough medical data to make the most cost-effective and efficient health care decisions.
Wednesday’s panel was moderated by Tom Croyle, president of Lehigh Valley Business Coalition on Healthcare, an organization that strives to improve the delivery, cost and quality of health care. LVBCH also sponsored the event for the second year in a row.
“There is either not enough information or there are too many metrics not applied,” Croyle said to the panelists.
Kile responded by saying that there may be legislation on the way in Pennsylvania that would frame what the metrics will be for providing health care data to consumers.
“Payers and providers need to collaborate more,” Prestipino said. “And turn data into results.”
Kile also talked about LVHN’s initiative of rolling out the Epic software system, which makes patient data accessible to many providers, promoting better transparency.
Mukherjee said the focus of health care data has always been around the provider, but should be more of a member-employer focus to make the best impact.
“It’s about getting waste out of the system,” Prestipino said. “This will result in lower costs and better outcomes.”