The National Cardiovascular Network applauds organizations such as the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council for their efforts to collect and analyze risk-adjusted outcomes data, as cited in your March 10 editorial (p. 68). We agree that outcomes information is important to patients. However, we contend it has the best chance to benefit patients if it is readily available, understandable and useful to providers and payers.
The editorial also implies outcomes data are most valuable if they're procedure-oriented. At NCN, we believe they should be patient-oriented. Follow-up information and patient satisfaction components are needed so providers can test the efficacy of treatment strategies and payers can avoid unnecessary costs.
Although patients are increasingly taking part in healthcare decisionmaking, for serious conditions patients are not trained to determine the best treatment. And most patients are not able to assess the sophistication level and accuracy of reported data.
Director of outcomes and research
National Cardiovascular Network, Atlanta