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Evidence-based nursing: Got accountability? Increasing data transparency
Tami J. Meltsch BSN, RN, CNML, PCCN

Nursing Management
June 2012 
Volume 43  Number 6
Pages 13 - 15
  PDF Version Available!

Healthcare reform initiatives, such as value-based purchasing programs and pay for performance, have brought data transparency (DT) to light. Currently, anyone with Internet access has the ability to compare the cost and quality of hospitals side by side. DT allows consumers to choose their healthcare provider and make informed decisions. Ultimately, the goal of DT is to provide incentives to patients who choose healthcare providers based on the best value. Negotiating contracts between payors and providers related to rates, denials, reimbursement, and hospital affiliations is made easier with DT.1 Healthcare can no longer escape data; they're free domain for everyone to review. An opportunity exists to restore public confidence and help healthcare facilities regain accountability for providing high quality, safe care.Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is a Magnet(R)-recognized, academic community health network. This 980-bed network is spread out over three campuses, two suburban and one urban. The largest campus, Cedar Crest, includes a trauma center and burn center. The Muhlenberg campus (LVHN-M) acute care facility is a suburban 160-bed site, inclusive of an ICU, medical-surgical units, outpatient pediatric unit, and cancer center. We trialed a DT program on an 18-bed medical unit at LVHN-M.In the past, quality data in an inpatient hospital setting were provided only to nurse leaders. A bound book containing the report would be distributed from the quality department on a quarterly basis. Content included data, numbers, trends, and benchmarks with little explanation or instructions for next steps. After being printed, the report became obsolete, creating a scenario in which the action plan was based on old data. There was no way to measure if an initiative put into place would have any impact. Linking interventions with outcomes wasn't possible.Fast forward to advances in computer technology; timely, accurate data are ever-present. Data are no longer guarded secrets

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