Posted by Scott Cebula, UC Health IT Initiative. The five UC medical centers are working together on an initiative to share best practices, leverage economies of scale, and thereby return dollars to higher-value activities. As the cost of delivering healthcare skyrockets and reimbursements get cut, our medical centers recognize they must find ways to reduce costs. The expectation is not just cutting overall spending, but also ensuring that funding is directed to the most important, high-value areas. The basic premise is that, rather than do things five ways, they can do it one way and lower the total cost across UC. This initiative is called Leveraging Scale for Value (LSfV).
Does IT play a part?
Absolutely! I’m excited that information technology (IT) is one of the initiative’s four initial focus areas. We have formed an IT leadership team, led by the five medical center CIOs, with advice from UC CIO Tom Andriola, UCOP’s Michael Thompson, and myself:
- Davis: Michael Minear
- Irvine: Chuck Podesta
- Los Angeles: Michael Pfeffer, M.D.
- San Diego: Ed Babakanian
- San Francisco: Joe Bengfort
We have adopted a governance structure and a framework that centers our efforts on the six IT work streams where we see the greatest opportunity for improvement and the highest financial value: commodity IT purchasing, stakeholder partnerships, electronic health records, information security, IT sourcing and delivery models, and business intelligence/analytics. The UC Health IT team recently completed Phase I activities, which identified top opportunities and next steps for each work stream. Early benefits have already been achieved as group discounts for IT hardware are received by the medical centers. Additional efforts begin in late February as the work stream teams begin planning for fiscal year 2016 and guide the projects that they identified in Phase I.
The return on value
LSfV is a significant initiative because of the sheer scale of the UC healthcare enterprise. Our plan calls for achieving IT work stream improvements valued at $32-45 million for fiscal years 2015-2017. I am excited to think that we can direct a greater sum of savings and new capabilities towards improved patient outcomes. Truly, working together across UC in collaborative and creative ways can yield great value to the University and to its mission.