National Academy of Medicine

Transparency: A Patient’s Right to Know

By Toby Cosgrove
May 17, 2013 | Commentary

A generation ago, the doctor always knew best. Medical decision-making was cloaked in secrecy. Medical charts and X-rays were handled clandestinely. And hospitals’ outcomes, volumes, and mortality rates were not available for general consumption if the data were collected at all.

Today, we have access to all this and more. The era of transparency is upon us, and it’s redefining the way hospitals deliver care to patients. As health care moves from a system that rewards volume (by paying for every procedure) to one that rewards value (by paying for outcomes), transparency is not only the right thing to do, but also the pragmatic thing to do.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.