Caring Wisely™

"We are an incubator and catalyst for change that enables frontline clinicians to redesign healthcare systems and implement innovative care processes to improve quality and reduce costs."
- Catherine Lau, MD, Caring Wisely™ Director

What is Caring Wisely™?

Caring Wisely™ is an organized process for engaging and supporting frontline staff and clinicians in efforts to remove unnecessary costs from healthcare delivery systems and improve the quality of care delivered. The program was created
and launched by the UCSF Center for Healthcare Value in November 2012.

How does Caring Wisely work?

Caring Wisely LogoThe Caring Wisely™ program awards $50,000 to three projects per year (for a total of $150,000).  The annual award
process consists of:

  1. The Project Contest: a health system-wide open call to all staff, providers, faculty and trainees to bring forward their best ideas for identifying areas that could be targeted to reduce inefficiencies and healthcare costs; Letters of Intent (LOI) with ideas, then full proposals are submitted on the crowdsourcing platform, Open Proposals; this platform engages the UCSF Health community by promoting comments and questions from colleagues.
  2. Project Optimization: 2nd Round finalists are selected and given approximately two weeks to optimize their proposals; Open Proposals is used to generate deeper dive feedback from the community; Center for Healthcare Value (CHV) provides office hours and connection to institutional resources to help design robust cost model predictions.
  3. Project Implementation: Awardees receive implementation science coaching support from the Caring Wisely™ Core Leadership Team, opportunities to engage with UCSF Health stakeholders and executive leadership, and technical assistance (modification and extraction of EHR data); Project Leads meet weekly the first two months for intensive Implementation Science and Lean training, shifting to two (2) times a month for Work in Progress (WIP) sessions over the award year.


    Success of the Caring Wisely™ program is built upon the key partnerships between Project Leads, the Core Leadership Team, the Selection Committee, the Executive Committee, and the greater UCSF Health community.

    • Core Leadership Team - consists of a Program Medical Director, Program Manager, Implementation Science Advisor, Director of Strategic Improvement, and the Chief Innovation Officer
    • Selection Committee - consists of key UCSF Health leaders across the discipline spectrum, including nurse managers, clinicians, pharmacists, data scientists, improvement managers, hospital administration, and invited subject matter experts; the Selection Committee vets all proposals and recommends winners annually
    • Executive Committee - comprised of executive health system leaders in quality, operations, finance, and information technology; Executive Committee meets quarterly to discuss progress to date, address barriers, and approve subsequent year awardees

    Open Proposals

    Powered by UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), Open Proposals is a web-based platform enabling transparent and collaborative proposal development.  Caring Wisely™ has collected hundreds of ideas and dozens of full project proposals on Open Proposals since 2012.

    Past Caring Wisely™ ideas and projects may be viewed in the Archived section of Open Proposals
    (UCSF MyAccess login required)

    Next Funding Cycle

    2020 – 2021 Caring Wisely™ Timeline: 

    FY 21 Caring Wisely Project Contest Letter of Intent (LOI) Submission Phase: Jan 6 – Jan 24, 2020

    • Announcement of Top 5 LOIs: Feb 3, 2020
    • FY 21 Caring Wisely Project Contest Full Proposal Submission Phase: Feb 3 – Feb 28, 2020
    • FY 21 Caring Wisely Project Contest Second Round Optimization Phase: Mar 3 – Mar 16, 2020
    • FY21 Caring Wisely Project Winners Announced: by Apr 20, 2020

    Past Awards

    Outpatient Cervical Ripening for Induction of Labor – Rebecca Schwartz, MD
    Pediatric IV Acetaminophen Stewardship – Kendall Gross, PharmD
    Standardization and Expansion of Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment to Transitional
    Care Units – Anne Ritchie, MD
    2018 – 2019
    Albumin Utilization Stewardship – Ashley Thompson, PharmD
    Wide Awake Local Anesthesia No Tournequet (WALANT) Simple Hand Surgeries – Igor Immerman, MD
    Transforming Back and Neck Pain – Integrated Spine Service (ISS) – Conor O’Neill, MD
    Care for the Homeless - James Hardy, MD
    Transforming Back and Neck Pain – Integrated Spine Service (ISS) - Conor O’Neill, MD
    Safe Transitions Pathway in Neurological Surgery -  Jennifer Viner, NP
    Antibiotic Stewardship - Sarah Doernberg, MD
    Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Pathway for Cesarean Delivery - Monica Harbell, MD
    Perioperative Obstructive Sleep Apnea Pathway – Andrew Schober, MD and Sakura Kinjo, MD
    Perioperative Surgical Home - Lee-Lynn Chen, MD
    Pre-Term Sepsis Risk Calculator - Tom Newman, MD, MPH
    OR Communication and Efficiency Problem Resolution - Sarah Imershein, MPH
    OR Score - Reducing Operating Room Costs through a Price Transparency  - Corinna Zygourakis, MD and Kent Soo Hoo, PhD
    Reducing Operating Room Turnover Times - Lindsay Hampson, MD
    RADS: Reducing CT Use with APeX Decision Rules - Ellen Weber, MD
    Nebs No More After 24: Improving the Use of Appropriate Respiratory Therapies - Chris Moriates, MD and Kathryn Curcione, RN, BSN, ONC, NE-BC
    Reduction of RBC Transfusions - Delene Johnson, MS, MT, SBB and Molly Rankin, PA-C

    Caring Wisely™ Resources

    For more information, please contact:
    Brian Holt, MHA ([email protected]), Caring Wisely™ Program Manager
    Catherine Lau, MD ([email protected]), Caring Wisely™ Director