American College of Surgeons, SLC Quality Summit
Oct 3, 2014 1:00 PM
A Who's Who list of health industry leaders gathered at the Utah Capitol on Oct. 3 to share how they’re delivering more efficient, high quality health care. I had the pleasure of participating in the event, sponsored by the American College of Surgeons – and was proud to showcase some of University of Utah Health Sciences’ victories in the volume-to-value revolution.
Lifting the veil on costs
Everyone has been talking about what hospitals charge. But the real problem is we don’t know our costs. Most health centers can estimate their staffing and overhead expenses, but they can’t say with any specificity (down to the number of bandages used) what it costs to, for example, perform a knee replacement. But at University of Utah Health Sciences we’ve developed a Value Driven Outcomes (VDO) tool for doing just that. It’s helping us improve care and bend the cost curve.
University of Utah Health Care was the first academic health center in the country to publish patient reviews on its Find-A-Doctor website. The pioneering move paid off in more satisfied customers. In 2008 the university ranked in the 18th percentile in outpatient satisfaction nationally. Last quarter we ranked in the 90th percentile. Nearly half of our 1,300 plus providers had 30 or more surveys returned. Of those, one of every two ranked in the top 10 nationally when compared with their Press Ganey peers. One of four placed in the top 1 percent.
Putting patients in the driver’s seat
Conventional wisdom is that patients don’t think about cost when it comes to health care. But a University of Utah study showed just the opposite. Chief of Pediatric Surgery Eric R. Scaife, M.D.,was curious how patient families would respond when given pricing information. He chose a procedure—pediatric appendectomy—with two surgical approaches that produced the same outcome and gave parents a choice between an “open” operation or more expensive laparoscopy. Interestingly, when outcomes were the same, parents were almost twice as likely to choose the open procedure.
There’s still plenty of work ahead for health systems bent on providing better, more cost-effective care. Panelists voiced varying opinions on how to get there, which made for a lively discussion (see a recap below, courtesy of our national publication, Algorithms For Innovation). But institutions that embrace change now are better positioned for future success. And, as David Hoyt, M.D., Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons said, “Quality is the future of medicine.”
A special thanks to my esteemed colleagues and fellow panelists:
- • David B. Hoyt, M.D., Executive Director, American College of Surgeons
- • Brent C. James, M.D., Chief Quality Officer, Intermountain Healthcare
- • Charles Sorenson, M.D., President and CEO, Intermountain Healthcare
- • E. Marc Mariani, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon, St. Mark’s Hospital
- • Sara Hartsaw, M.D., general surgeon, owner, High Plains Surgical Associates
- • Timothy B. Anderson, attorney and University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics trustee
- • Samuel R.G. Finlayson, M.D., surgeon and Claudius Y. Gates and Catherine B. Gates Presidential Endowed Chair, University of Utah
- • Mark J. Ott, M.D., Medical Director, Surgical Services, Intermountain Healthcare, Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Utah School of Medicine