This profile was published in the December, 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
It's hard to make an argument against transparency in healthcare.
When pressed, hospitals, insurers, nursing homes, physicians, and government officials all say they're "for it" and go on about how transparency will play a critical role in "bending the cost curve" by allowing patients to become wise consumers of their healthcare dollars.
When it's time to go public, however, that altruism often evaporates, as few really want anyone else to know how much they charge for something, or how much they get paid for it, or if they're having quality issues. So that heralded release of information is delayed, or it's hidden in a massive data dump, or it's placed into a context that most consumers could never fathom.
Charles Ornstein and the investigative reporters at the independent, nonprofit news organization ProPublica—often also working with the nonprofit Association of Health Care Journalists—have led several initiatives in the past three years that create easier access to critical healthcare data on quality and cost.