Caring Wisely™

What is Caring Wisely?

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

How does Caring Wisely work?

The Caring Wisely program consists of 3 stages:

1) The Ideas Contest: a medical center-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;

2) The Request for Proposals Stage: project teams are encouraged to submit proposals for intervention strategies; and

3) The Project Implementation Stage: frontline project and implementation science teams meet regularly to develop and implement an intervention strategy.

Each project has a maximum budget of $50,000 and receives project support from the Caring Wisely team. A key feature of the program is the partnership between project teams, the Caring Wisely team, and the Caring Wisely Steering Committee (comprised of executive health systems leaders in quality, operations, finance, and information technology).

We have collected more than 137 ideas and 31 full project proposals in each of the first 4 years of the program, via UCSF Open Proposals: a web-based platform enabling transparent and collaborative proposal development. Each year, 2-3 projects have been chosen for implementation. Early results show notable decreases for target groups in blood transfusions, nebulizer treatments, operating room supply costs, and overuse of antibiotics in newborns.

"If you have an idea to reduce costs, reduce waste, and improve quality of care at UCSF Health, please submit to our 2017 Caring Wisely Ideas Contest (UCSF MyAccess login required):

The 2016 Caring Wisely awards and links to archives of past awards can be viewed here (UCSF MyAccess login required): 

Caring Wisely™ Resources

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Imershein, MPH (, 
Caring Wisely Program Manager

Catherine Lau, MD (, 
Caring Wisely Director