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OHSU develops new online service to improve health care delivery across Washington

Washington HealthCareCompare allows consumers to compare costs for more than 80 common health care services
(Getty Images)

At the click of a button, Washington state residents are now able to make more informed health care decisions.

On Friday, the state rolled out a new online service, Washington HealthCareCompare, that allows its more than 7 million citizens to compare the cost and quality of medical, dental and pharmacy services, based on individual medical needs, physical location and insurance status.

The project, which uses data from Washington’s All-Payer Claims Database – a secure public collection of health and dental insurance claim information from both private and government-sponsored insurance programs – is overseen by the OHSU Center for Health Systems Effectiveness.

John McConnell, Ph.D.
John McConnell, Ph.D.

“Washington has embarked on an important approach to improving health care delivery across the state,” said John McConnell, Ph.D., director of the OHSU Center for Health Systems Effectiveness and associate professor of emergency medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. “By providing transparent access to such information, residents will be able to identify affordable options personalized to their own needs. This may help to limit common barriers of health care such as unexpected cost or geographic distance.”

In 2016, the State of Washington Office of Financial Management awarded McConnell and the CHSE a three-year contract, totaling $5.5 million, to implement the All-payer Claims Database. To do so, the group supervises the cultivation and assessment of claims data provided by the various health plans, and insurances providers across the state, ensuring accuracy of WA-APCD reporting. Once the data is processed, confirmed accurate and secured, it is placed into the database to be accessed by users of HealthCareCompare. Currently, the database includes information for more than 4 million Washingtonians.

“The Center for Health Systems Effectiveness at OHSU has been an ideal partner for leading the WA-APCD program implementation,” said Thea Mounts, WA-APCD program director. “The Center is a proven leader in effectively using data and developing innovative approaches to research the health care delivery system to improve the system and bend the spending curve.”

Data analysis firm Onpoint Health Data, and web developer Forum One, are involved in the implementation of HealthCareCompare.

The next phase of the project will focus on program sustainability, said McConnell. “Our objective is to offer useful data through robust products and services such as cloud-based analyst platforms and custom reports, designed to meet the diverse needs of the health-data marketplace across the state.”

More information is available from the following:

  • Watch the June 27, 2018, episode of the TVW show The Impact, which highlights the Washington HealthCareCompare website.
  • Blog post from Gov. Jay Inslee's office.
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