Virginia | 50 states of population health

PAM SUTTON-WALLACE. CEO of University of Virginia Medical Center (Charlottesville)

On the top challenge

"What is the true value of excellent healthcare if our patients cannot afford to use it? According to the Vizient Research Institute, annual spending by the working population for their own healthcare has tripled in the last 15 years and will double again in the next 15 years. Without action from the entire healthcare community, insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs will reach $50,000 per working household, putting healthcare out of reach for the majority of Americans. It goes without saying that we cannot allow this to happen."

On the hospital's response  

"To successfully address this challenge, we believe healthcare stakeholders, including providers, payers, patients, politicians and pharmaceutical companies, must come together to bend the cost curve. UVA Health System is working on several fronts to do just this by focusing on the systemic causes of rising healthcare costs.

UVA's Be Safe program uses lean management principles to equip our teams with a data-driven, real-time problem-solving methodology to improve patient safety and quality on a daily basis. As an example, Be Safe has helped us cut the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections by more than 70 percent over the past five years.

UVA's Karen S. Rheuban Center for Telehealth is [also] a national telehealth leader saving more than 16 million miles of travel through remote consults and monitoring. Our goal is to facilitate 60,000 virtual visits over the next two to three years. Remote monitoring has been used in the pediatric heart and medical subspecialty patient populations to ensure post-discharge care coordination and patient adherence. This approach has helped reduce the number of clinic visits and unnecessary readmissions, thereby reducing overall healthcare costs. In another example, UVA Cancer Center recently adopted software that enables more efficient scheduling of infusion services, which expanded capacity without adding incremental fixed or labor resources.

[Additionally], UVA has built strategic partnerships with several health systems across Virginia with a primary goal of ensuring patients have access to the right care at the right time in the right environment while reducing redundancies. In one example, UVA recently formed a clinically integrated network for pediatric services with Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk. This network is designed to improve patients' health and well-being by establishing common goals that link physicians, hospitals, care providers and insurers in implementing physician-designed clinical standards and developing advanced models of care coordination for some of the most vulnerable children in the state."

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