There are often misconceptions as people talk about "transparency" in the health-care field. They say the main societal value is to provide information so patients can make decisions about which hospital to visit for a given diagnosis or treatment. As for hospitals, people believe the main strategic value of transparency is to create a competitive advantage vis-à-vis other hospitals in the same city or region. Both these impressions are misguided.
Transparency's major societal and strategic imperative is to provide creative tension within hospitals so that they hold themselves accountable. This accountability is what will drive doctors, nurses, and administrators to seek constant improvements in the quality and safety of patient care.
Paul F. Levy '72 has been President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts since 2002. Previously, he served as Executive Dean of Administration at Harvard Medical School, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), Commissioner and Chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, and Director of the Arkansas Department of Energy. At the MWRA, he had primary responsibility for the “Boston Harbor Cleanup,” one of the largest pollution control projects in the world.
Mr. Levy has been a visiting lecturer and adjunct professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a consultant in the energy, water, and telecommunications industries.
Mr. Levy is the author of numerous articles in a variety of fields and co-author of Negotiating Environmental Agreements (Island Press, 1999). He is author of a blog entitled “Running a Hospital,” and in that regard is one of very few hospital CEOs to share thoughts publicly about hospitals, medicine, and health care issues.
Mr Levy is a member of the MIT Corporation, and serves also on the boards of ISO-New England, the Risk Management Foundation, and the Celebrity Series of Boston.