Transparency is something valued in any business. Consumers want to know exactly how much they are paying for the products or services you provide, have channels to contact you in case of doubt or give feedback easily, and want to be answered quickly.

It’s no different in the healthcare business. But healthcare providers cannot always be as transparent as the consumer would like. Unlike other businesses, they deal with very private information, and not all of it can be made public. Healthcare is also a coordinated effort, and it can be difficult to be straightforward and transparent under these conditions.

Despite being something lacking in the industry, the idea of ​​transparent healthcare is becoming popular. Being more transparent can improve service quality, increase productivity and help reduce operating costs. Intrigued?  Read on to discover five approaches to be more transparent as a healthcare provider.

  1. Open Communication

Patients desire transparent communication with any healthcare worker regarding their experience and the service they receive. In other words, you must have open and clear communication channels so that this information is available.

The transparent communication between provider and patient goes through the following processes:

  • An updated website where potential patients can learn about the services you offer.
  • A strong social media presence, to deliver current and future patients updates about your services and answers to questions and comments.
  • A blog with articles related to your practice or organization will serve as a source of information to attract potential patients (and also a place to spread news and updates).

Keep in mind that you need to have empathy and compassion when sharing some data with patients and their family members, especially when responding to criticism or providing information about procedures.

  1. Accessibility

More accessible healthcare practices are an important step towards providing transparent care. Keeping paper medical records under lock and key is no longer an accepted practice in today’s internet-connected world.

The same goes for professionals who only answer questions from patients when they make a new face-to-face appointment. The Cures Act Final Rule recently determined that a patient must have control of their medical records, even if they want to access them through smartphone apps.

So you need to ensure that your patients have quick and easy access to their records, that they are kept up to date, and that they can conveniently use them. Suppose you haven’t modernized your processes yet.

In that case, this is a great time to research and understand the functions and advantages of using EHRs for clinics, as electronic health records ensure greater transparency and streamline exchanging information between providers and patients.

  1. Alternative Options

In the old days, there was no doubt when the “family doctor” decided what the best treatment for the patient was. But today, people spend more and more time searching for information (not always reliable) on the Internet and may question whether the chosen diagnosis is really the best option.

Transparent care requires you to provide alternative treatment options and allow a patient to make the best choice for them. The doctor can even mention and talk about the pros and cons of some complementary, alternative treatments – such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and chiropractic – so that the patient does not feel that other options aren’t being considered.

When discussing options, it’s necessary to have the patience to listen and guide the patient. And especially to be up to date with the medical literature and new research to know how to refute misinformation and weigh the benefits of the options to be considered.

  1. Financial Considerations

Many patients start treatment without knowing exactly how much they will have to pay at the end. Some are kept completely in the dark about how much each process costs.

Acknowledging the costs involved with any treatment recommendation is the best way of fulfilling the patient’s desire for transparent care. Here are some tips to improve your financial transparency.

  • Disclose and explain your prices publicly through reliable and valid information (that does not allow for dubious interpretations).
  • This information should be provided to patients promptly when they make an appointment or before the start of any treatment.
  • Be careful to itemize how much each step of the treatment costs when presenting the patient’s bill.
  • Price should not be used as the sole criterion for choosing a healthcare professional, medication, or specific treatment.
  1. Performance Reviews

Some professionals cannot accept criticism, but it helps any business to grow and improve. It’s no different with healthcare. You should encourage and welcome all types of feedback, patient experience surveys, and provider performance evaluations.

They fulfill a patient’s desire to be heard about their positive or negative experience. For owners, managers, and administrators at any healthcare facility, these reviews also provide valuable insights into how you can improve your services and practices.

Transparency is Essential

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) defines “transparency in healthcare” as the process of providing the patient, clearly and reliably, with all data about the consumer’s experience, including financial data and performance reviews.

The objective is to influence providers to achieve better results and collect information that can help future patients to decide for this or that health professional. Keep in mind that your clinic or healthcare facility can benefit from having more transparency.

You ensure that the patients know every step of their treatment, from diagnosis and services provided to exactly what they were charged for. It also opens up essential communication channels with old and new patients.