State’s new health care website receives national award

The state of Washington is being nationally recognized for a new website that gives consumers access to vast amounts of information about health care costs and quality.

The National Association of Health Data Organizations announced last week it has given its annual Innovation in Data Dissemination Award to the state for its Washington HealthCareCompare website.

“Through this award, NAHDO honors Washington State’s commitment to bringing greater transparency to health care costs in the state and giving residents powerful tools to make data-driven, informed decisions that maximize health care quality and value,” the association said in its announcement.

Launched in June, Washington HealthCareCompare is an easy-to-navigate tool for comparing information from the Washington All-Payer Claims Database, which collects and reports health and dental insurance claims information from private insurance plans as well as government-sponsored programs.

“Washington HealthCareCompare has helped the state take a big step forward in providing consumers information to assist in making informed choices about health care,” said Thea Mounts, WA-APCD program director.

Consumers can use the website to find high-quality doctor groups and hospitals and to shop for medical services by comparing prices for common services at hospitals and other health centers. Others, including health plan managers, consumer advocates, hospitals, physician organizations, business leaders and policymakers, can use the site to check cost and quality performance throughout Washington. The WA-APCD also provides information to evaluate the impact of health reform efforts to improve the affordability and quality of care, particularly among populations who are in poor health or cannot afford medical care.

Legislation passed in 2014 directed the Office of Financial Management to establish the WA-APCD. OFM received funding to implement it from Federal Rate Review and State Innovation Model grants.

Through a competitive bidding process, OFM contracted with the Center for Health Systems Effectiveness at Oregon Health & Science University as the lead organization to manage the WA-APCD. CHSE partnered with Onpoint Health Data and Forum One to set up the program. Together, these groups securely collect and validate data submissions, and make the information available and meaningful to consumers and others.

This press release was produced by The Office of Financial Management