Collecting and Using Cost Data

What have AF4Q Alliances learned from their experiences in collecting and reporting cost data and in reducing health care costs? Over the course of the AF4Q project, Alliances addressed cost and efficiency of care in a defined and measureable way by focusing their cost reduction efforts on conditions their communities specifically selected. Cost is a particularly difficult issue because of differing stakeholder perspectives on what is cost versus revenue, emergent cost measures, the real and perceived barriers to accessing data, and concerns about unintended consequences. This complexity resulted in many Alliances initiating their efforts by addressing waste, utilization rates, high-tech imaging, and other less politically charged issues, instead of addressing cost or prices directly. Alliances included a set of health care cost or efficiency measures in their public reports with the goal of increasing transparency in health care costs. Alliances learned through their experiences about the challenges of measuring cost, accessing and using data on cost, and the importance of political will to publicly displaying cost information. At the end of the AF4Q project, the majority of Alliances have reduced the cost of health care in their market.


This primer offers thoughts on the complex landscape of measuring health care cost and determining price in America.

This document offers a snapshot of physicians’ views on access to cost and resource use information for both themselves and the public.

This report summarizes findings from eight consumer focus groups conducted by the American Institutes for Research to support efforts by Aligning Forces for Qualitycommunities to publicly report cost information.

This report presents recommendations for public reporting of resource use—cost and quality of care—information that is understandable and relevant to consumers.

HCI3, an AF4Q technical assistance provider, has compiled a series of free online classes about payment and cost in health care.