A Risky Gamble

Added on Oct 1, 2015

As online reporting of patient experience data gains momentum, some health systems may unintentionally be gambling with their brand by adopting reporting methodologies that undermine the ethics of transparency.

By definition, a transparent organization is one that encourages open access to performance data. Because the quality and reliability of the information being shared reflects the integrity of the organization, rating methodologies that support open, honest and thorough reporting of data create a high level of trust among stakeholders.

In contrast, reporting approaches that misrepresent performance across any measure—either deliberately or through selective omission of information—can undermine patient and physician confidence that their best interests are being served, and they can erode loyalty. Because stakeholder confidence and loyalty are essential drivers of value, brand and relationship equity, they are critical linchpins between organizational success and failure, and they should be carefully protected.

Any perceived marketing benefit associated with painting a falsely rosy performance picture will be short-lived. The collateral damage will not be. The reputations of health systems that purport full transparency of patient experience outcomes will be seriously damaged when the flawed reporting methodologies come to light.

Even more concerning is the potential spillover effect that such bad press could have on the ability of individual health systems and the industry overall to fully deliver on the transparency promise—which is to build trust, earn loyalty and drive improvement.

In other words, gambling with transparency is risky, and the stakes are unacceptably high.