Transparency is Critical

I am of the opinion that transparency reduces errors as well as corruption. My belief is that you should behave as if the world is watching you. And in this day and age this would seem to be the case.

Everywhere you turn there are cameras, all forms of media channels, and lurkers. Do you remember Rodney King? Do you think the policemen would have acted the way they did if they knew a camera was recording their actions?

Access to information laws make it possible for reports to get detailed information from meeting schedules, bills and invoices along with any public document. There is just no hiding the facts, and if someone tries this it is more damning than the actual evidence.

Politics and healthcare have been linked for many reasons this past year. Primarily it is because of the escalating costs associated with government run programs, our aging population and our rising chronic diseases. Some believe that government should not run our healthcare system. I believe if we trust the government to collect our taxes, pay for education, build our roads, and manage the military than why is healthcare any different?

We need to be transparent on the cost of healthcare and the delivery of it needs to be focused on the people involved. You don’t want a doctor or nurse to pause for a second, when delivering care to check if you can afford it. If a patient needs help then provide the care needed. No insurance company, private or public should get in the way of patient care. No secret decisions or exclusions; transparent public scrutiny is the best way to achieve better care.

I recall reading about a hospital that not only allowed but encouraged patients to review doctors’ notes and entries in their paper charts. What the administrators noticed is that very quickly the doctors’ handwriting improved. The reason is obvious, patients would ask questions of notes they couldn’t understand or read, this increased the time doctors’ spent to explain what they wrote. Clearer written notes also became more explicit and coherent. Imagine.

Now if this was electronic, the patient could also review, annotate and correct errors. The system could provide full audit trail and timestamps. No more questionable practises, short hand notes or incorrect doctors’ orders. And also better drug management would be possible.

Shining a light on health practices, giving access to those that need it while securing privacy of personal details, I believe will lead to better health outcomes. The same is true of financial investments and government.

Would Bernie Madock have been as successful with his ponzi schema if everyone knew how their money was being invested? Would Watergate have happened? It’s all well and good for newspapers and investigators to find and report on these events, yet it would be to everyone’s best interest to prevent them from happening, and the means to achieve this is greater transparency.

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