Oregon Participates in National Cost Measurement and Transparency Pilot

October 6, 2014   |  Tags: Blog   |  Tags: Cost , Measurement
Elizabeth Mitchell, Network for Regional Health Improvement (NRHI)

Primary care physician leaders are instrumental in changing the trajectory of rising health care costs and delivery system effectiveness. The Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation (Q Corp) is participating is one of five Collaboratives working together to make significant inroads in addressing health care costs. As a part of this project, four Oregon physicians attended the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement’s (NRHI’s) recent National Physician Leadership Seminar, hosted by Dr. Arnie Milstein at Stanford University and led by NRHI and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Participants experienced a unique opportunity for physician leaders from across the country to better understand, and ultimately use, cost measurement to improve care.

What does it take? Supporting physicians with credible data and information is the first step. One physician at the seminar said that “we can’t change what we can’t measure, but it’s all voodoo because we don’t have the data.” To build trust it isn’t just about getting the data, but also using the data in a credible and responsible way to ultimately deliver more than just benchmarks. And with trust, we can create change.

Change is not just a logical process. We also need to address the emotional aspects of change by appealing to values and to the moral and ethical call for healthcare improvement. Dr. Jay Want, a presenter at the seminar, said “We need to give up what we know for new ways of doing things.” Trusted and credible data is important, but the data needs to be actionable and tap into what motivates primary care physicians to lead improvement.

Physicians are the key influencer of the U.S. health care trajectory, but they can’t do it alone. They need the support of multi-stakeholder collaboratives where everyone has a seat at the table – physicians, payers, providers and patients – and where actionable data is shared transparently and put in the context of transformation.

There is an economic urgency to this change, since unsustainable health care costs threaten the fabric of our society and the future of our children. As one of our physician attendees put it, “Everyone needs to get out of their silos and come together to determine how we are going to fix this problem that is consuming our economy and our way of life.”


This work is led by Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more information on this project and related work in Oregon please visit: www.q-corp.org/costofcare


Elizabeth Mitchell is the President and CEO of NRHI. Prior to taking her role with NRHI, Mitchell led the Maine Health Management Coalition and Foundation as CEO since 2008. Under Mitchell’s leadership, the Coalition became one of the most successful Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives in the country, implementing innovative programs in quality and cost measurement, employer and consumer engagement, and payment and delivery reform that are widely viewed as models for improving both the quality and affordability of healthcare.

Prior to becoming CEO of the Maine Health Management Coalition, Mitchell worked for MaineHealth, Maine’s largest integrated health system, where she led several transparency and quality improvement efforts. She served two terms in the Maine State Legislature, where she chaired the Health and Human Services Committee.

She has also held posts at the National Academy for State Health Policy and London’s Nuffield Trust. She was selected for an Atlantic Fellowship in Public Policy by the Commonwealth Fund and the British Council. She completed the International Health Leadership Program at Cambridge University’s Judge School of Management while pursuing graduate studies at the London School of Economics.

Elizabeth can be contacted at EMitchell@NRHI.org.