High-Value Care Program Puts Hospital on Path to Savings


In March 2012, physicians and staff of the hospital medicine division at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) kicked off a high-value care (HVC) program to more efficiently tie quality care delivery to healthcare costs. Early results suggest the plan is working, and the lead author of a recent paper believes other HM groups could use the program as a guide to implement similar plans in their own practices.

"There are a lot of idiosyncrasies between different programs and different medical centers, particularly when it comes to cost," says Christopher Moriates, MD, co-chair of the UCSF division's high-value care committee. "Many of the things we're identifying are indeed transplantable…but not all of them."

Published online this month in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, authors identify six ongoing HVC projects that have shown encouraging data in promoting improved healthcare value and clinician engagement. The projects are designed to:

  • Reduce unnecessary nebulizer use;
  • Curb overuse and inappropriate use of gastric stress ulcer prophylaxis;
  • Encourage better blood utilization stewardship;
  • Improve the use of telemetry;
  • Scale back on inappropriate, repeat inpatient echocardiograms; and
  • Reduce the number of ionized calcium labs.

To date, the nebulizer program has dropped usage rates by more than 50% on a high-acuity medical floor. Along with merely identifying waste-reduction and cost-savings plans, the program spells out goals for each initiative, strategies for reaching those goals, and next steps.

"We're not just creating these pilot programs and asking people to do more," Dr. Moriates says. "We're really thinking through these interventions as complete packages. We're really baking it into our culture. As we address what people actually do and change the systems around and change the way we think about things, it becomes standard practice and thus more likely to be sustainable." TH

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