From the Toronto Star’s May Warren’s interview with Kathleen Finlay
— June 2019
I’ve been pushing for greater transparency at all levels of health care for some time — everything from hospital safety ratings and medical error disclosure to a national data bank for disciplinary actions/decisions involving professional misconduct and, importantly, sexual abuse of patients.
I’ve seen a real sea change in recent years in the attitudes of patients and families. They know that being an empowered patient leads to better health care outcomes. Information is empowering. There is a thirst for much more information at all levels of our health care system.
No doubt a sunshine law for physician billings would help open the curtains and lead to a better understanding of costs and benefits for one of the largest outlays of taxpayer funds at federal and provincial levels.
But transparency also needs to extend to the disclosure of monetary and other benefits from drug companies and medical device manufacturers, which can be a significant motivator (from the patient’s perspective, at any rate) to doctors in terms of the decisions they make about patient care.
Too much in our health care system still operates in the shadows and behind closed doors. Transparency helps to build the trust the system must have if it’s going to meet the needs of patients and families. And, to be honest, if we don’t get a better handle on where all our healthcare dollars go — and everyone is able to measure that return — the system at some point will become unsustainable.