UC Launches Center for Health Quality and Innovation to Bridge UC Campuses

Today (October 25) the University of California launched the Center for Health Quality and Innovation, one of the many ways UC Health is responding to health care reform by improving quality, access and value in the delivery of health care.

UC Health, which supported federal health reform, includes UC’s five academic medical centers, 10 hospitals and 16 health professional schools.

The center will promote key innovations across campuses, including several UCSF programs, by providing financial support for projects on specific UC campuses that can be replicated across the UC system to further enhance its delivery of patient care.

It will be governed by a board comprised of six UC medical school deans, five UC medical center CEOs and chaired by John Stobo, MD, UC senior vice president for health sciences and services.

“This center will help connect the best and brightest in UC minds so we can spread the most effective innovations throughout the system, provide Californians with better health care and be a leader in delivering health reforms,” Stobo said in a UC news release.

Examples of the kinds of innovative projects the center will fund include:

Improving ER Heart Attack Care

Minimizing the time it takes to transport heart attack patients from the moment they enter the emergency room to the catheterization lab for a balloon angioplasty is essential. As leaders in interventional cardiac care, UCSF Medical Center ranks in the top 6 percent of hospitals nationwide for the speed with which patients are treated with a balloon angioplasty.

By inserting a balloon into a narrow or blocked blood vessel of the heart, the vessel is immediately widened allowing blood flow to resume through the body. On average, patients are treated by UCSF interventional cardiologists with the procedure in 67 minutes, well below the 90 minute target set by the National Cardiovascular Data Registry. 

Several changes, including the addition of a nurse to the on-call team of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab have improved and sped up the care received by cardiac patients at UCSF. 

Assessing Technology for Safety, Efficacy

When UCSF is faced with the question of whether to adopt new technologies, it leans heavily on the Hospital Technology Assessment Program to help the university and medical center make informed decisions on the technology’s clinical evidence and cost effectiveness.

The largely physician centered committee evaluates the technology by objectively assessing its safety, efficacy, financial impact and fit within the culture and strategy of UCSF. That assessment, which is done before the committee votes on whether to approve an acquisition, reviews information such as FDA approval status, results from previous clinical evaluations at UCSF, published studies regarding efficacy, target patient populations and adverse effects.  Additionally, the committee is able to provide an objective physician opinion without being vested in the capital budgeting process. 

Reinvesting in Health Care Delivery

Funding for the center will be provided by each of the five UC medical centers—initially $5 million ($1 million each from medical centers at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UCSF). The funds will come from money generated from the California Hospital Fee Program, which imposes a fee on California hospitals to make supplemental Medi-Cal payments and direct grants to hospitals, and help support coverage for children.

“I’m proud that the University of California medical centers will be reinvesting a portion of the hospital provider fee to study and implement ways to make California’s entire health care delivery system safer, more efficient and more effective,” said Mark Laret, innovation center board member and chief executive officer of UCSF Medical Center. “This reflects UC’s commitment to improve the health status not just for the patients we care for directly, but to improve the system for all Californians, including the most vulnerable who are being cared for by California’s tremendous network of community clinics and hospitals.”

Related Links:

Advancing California’s Health Through Innovation,
UC News Release, October 25, 2010

UCSF Cardiologists Lead Nation in ER Heart Attack Care

Better review of new technology is needed to reduce health costs

UC Health