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Commentary: TRANSPARENCY IN HEALTH CARE |

Transparency and the “End Result Idea”*

Stephen J. Swensen, MD; Denise A. Cortese, MD, FCCP
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*From the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN.

Correspondence to: Stephen J. Swensen, MD, Department of Radiology, 200 First St SW, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905; e-mail: swensen.stephen@mayo.edu



Chest. 2008;133(1):233-235. doi:10.1378/chest.07-2101
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Transparency was an issue for the American medical profession a century ago, and transparency is an issue for the American medical profession today. In 1905, Ernest Codman, MD, first described the “end result idea.”14 The end result idea is simply that doctors should follow up with all patients to assess the results of their treatment and that the outcomes actively be made public. The end result idea was considered heretical at the time, but in retrospect Codman was sagacious and prescient. He was an advocate for transparency, which he believed would promote quality improvement, patient choice, and physician learning. Transparency is best viewed as an opportunity, one that we should fully and enthusiastically embrace. It offers a substantive boost as organizations step up to the moral imperative of improving patient care to the best it can be.

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