My employer is a leader in healthcare delivery and outcomes.  Because of its reputation as a leader, medical professionals from around the country come to its semi-annual conference on quality improvement.  I recently attended this four week conference. I heard from at least 20 professionals who talked about a wide variety of challenges facing health care.  The last presentation impacted me the most; it got under my skin, so to speak, and for a good reason.  

The final presenter’s goal was to show how transparency in healthcare organizations improves outcomes.  She showed a video of parents with children who are suffering from cystic fibrosis.  The parents in the video were concerned that their children were not receiving the best possible care for their cystic fibrosis at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. 

The organization with data on which hospitals are delivering the best outcomes is the national Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), but the CFF was not talking.  The foundation did not want to release data on which hospitals were producing the best outcomes and which were producing the worst.  This secrecy is a major concern given that the difference in survival years between the best and the worst cystic fibrosis treatment centers was 17 years!  That means that children from the best treatment centers were, on average, living 17 years longer than children from the worst treatment centers. 

The parents fought with the foundation until it gave them what they wanted – the name of the hospital with the best outcomes in cystic fibrosis care.  After discovering which hospital offered the best care, the parents and medical staff from Cincinnati visited the best care facility to learn what they were doing and what worked well.  This information was then incorporated into care programs at Cincinnati’s children’s hospital to improve the outcomes and prolong the lives of children suffering from cystic fibrosis in Cincinnati, Ohio.  

Watching the video and seeing young kids who were suffering from cystic fibrosis was heartbreaking enough; what made it even more heartbreaking was seeing their parents struggling to get the CFF to reveal the hospital offering the best care.  The thought that a lack of transparency in healthcare outcomes is reducing the lifespan of children suffering from cystic fibrosis is distressing.  You would think that we should be “pulling out all the stops” when it comes to helping these children.

In my opinion, what is equally distressing is our increasingly lack of transparency with the Light of Christ.  Every step that science (and society in general) takes toward godless secularism is a step away from the enlightening power of the Light of the Lord.  That same Light that inspired great discoveries in scholars like Newton, Boyle, Faraday, Einstein, and Salk has the potential to reveal promising treatments and cures for devastating diseases like cystic fibrosis.  The more we humble ourselves before the Lord and seek His guidance through prayer, the more secular knowledge we will receive through the enlightening power of the Spirit of the Lord.  On the other hand, the more we move towards secularism, the less we benefit from this enlightening power.

By increasing transparency in healthcare and improving our transparency with the Light of Christ we will advance our understanding of diseases and ultimately enhance the quality of people’s lives.  We will also, as Orson Pratt stated, help science move “higher and higher until [it is] crowned with the glory and presence of Him who is eternal.”  A wonderful goal, indeed.

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