Situated within UCSF’s Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, the CHV brings together expertise in clinical care, research methods, implementation sciences, health policy, health care delivery, law, information technology, entrepreneurship, and business to address the barriers to providing high-quality, efficient, and cost-effective healthcare and innovation. Through the development of proven, replicable interventions, the CHV will develop and test local and national models for improving healthcare value.
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Q&A with CHV Director
What is the UCSF Center for Healthcare Value all about?
Traditionally, in clinical medicine, quality improvement, and research, focusing on the cost of healthcare or overuse of services has been out of bounds. This is primarily because of long held concerns that attention to costs draws us away from doing what is best for patients. There is a growing understanding, however, that this assumption that we should always do more is harmful to patients. Too often, patients are getting drugs they don’t need or tests (some with radiation exposure) that don’t change the decisions to be made. In addition, as the trend to higher deductibles spreads, much of this creates a what we’re calling “financial toxicity” for patients, in which the costs of healthcare interfere with their ability to do other important and enjoyable things. The CHV is trying to bring together the right people to enable faculty and staff to innovate in improving value, so patients can live better lives and face fewer tradeoffs between costs for care and the other things they’d like to do with their income.
Why is the CHV a good fit for UCSF?
UCSF is already a leader in national discussions about the value of healthcare. The CHV should help to enable that effort and also bring new innovators to the table. It is meant to consolidate our leadership in increasing the value of healthcare.
How is this different from other efforts focused on improving healthcare value?
There aren’t very many academic medical centers that have taken on costs of healthcare as a major focus. We have experts in everything from when a pelvic exam is beneficial (and when it’s not) to how to get x-ray screening for cancer at the lowest possible radiation exposure. These people can team with other experts who help patients make optimal decisions and help hospital leaders enable staff to make sure care meets patients’ needs. Those are the ways we’re changing care right now.
Are you also changing healthcare for the future?
We think so. This revolution will depend to a significant extent on training the next generations of dentists, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists about value and how to help patients balance risks and benefits. We’re trying to introduce value into the curricula at all four UCSF schools.
What is your vision for the CHV?
I see the CHV addressing the most critical issue for healthcare in our time: with a history of focusing only on improving the breadth and efficacy of treatments, we now have a bloated and unsustainable system that is not optimized to improve health and protect patients from the clinical and financial toxicities of things we can do to them. I see the CHV growing to address this critical gap, identifying new resources and empowering faculty and staff to innovate. I suspect it will grow with its successes and spur along a broader ecosystem for supporting this critical work.