Academics & Research

Revolutionizing Health Care Through Radical Transparency

Transparency is more than a buzzword. It's a movement—among the most transformative movements in health care. Everyone yearns for reliable information about the cost and quality of health care. Consumers need it to inform medical decisions and guide their choice of doctors and health plans. It gives purchasers (employers, insurers and government leaders) assurance that they're getting their money's worth. It's driving doctors and hospitals to deliver more efficient, patient-centered care.

There are certainly risks and benefits to transparency. Doing it well—sharing information that not only accurately captures the complexity of health care, but that is digestible and actionable—takes time, practice and a willingness to confront our fears. Over the past several years, University of Utah Health has worked hard at building a culture of transparency. Here are highlights of lessons learned and victories celebrated.

  • Transparency and Trust – Online Patient Reviews of Physicians

    (January 19, 2017) Examining review site giant Yelp’s entrance into health care, University of Utah Health Care CEO Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., says transparent, validated data about health care system performance “has the power to change the culture of health care.” The question is, how should information be shared, and by whom.

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  • She’s Calling for a Health Care Revolution. The Radical First Step: Listen to Patients.

    (October 17, 2016) During the past decade, University of Utah Health Care has “repeatedly challenged the conventions of medical care and upended the relationships between doctors and patients,” Casey Ross reports. Now CEO Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., is calling for another revolution: defining value according to terms that matter to patients.

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  • The U’s Health Care System – the World is Paying Attention

    (October 10, 2016) “There’s something extraordinary going on at the University of Utah Health Care system that’s promising to revolutionize the way medical care is priced and delivered not only here, but throughout the world – and the world is paying attention,” wrote the Deseret News editorial board in recognizing University of Utah Health Care’s top ranking in the nation for quality.

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  • New Low-Cost Surgical Tool Could Help Patients in Third World

    (Sept. 23, 2016) A low-cost laparoscope invented by surgeon John Langell, M.D., Ph.D., director of the University of Utah’s Center for Medical Innovation, is making surgery accessible and affordable in developing countries as part of a new wave of ultra-low cost medical devices.

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  • Implementation of a Value-Driven Outcomes Program to Identify High Variability in Clinical Costs and Outcomes and Association With Reduced Cost and Improved Quality

    (September 13, 2016) Three clinical improvement projects – total hip and knee joint replacement, hospitalist laboratory utilization, and sepsis management – show how University of Utah’s value driven outcomes tool is helping physicians lower cost and improve the quality of care.

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  • From Volume to Value in Health Care: The Work Begins

    (September 13, 2016) According to Michael Porter, M.D., director of Harvard University’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, health care is “finally entering an era of significant change,” and University of Utah Health Care has shown “achieving better quality and lower costs is possible, and everyone can benefit: patients, hospitals, physicians, and society.”

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  • The Innovation Campus: Building Better Ideas

    (August 4, 2016) Can architecture spur creativity? The answer is yes at the University of Utah and other campuses around the nation, according to Alexandra Lange of The New York Times.

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  • How U.S. Officials Plan to Protect Olympic Athletes From Zika

    (May 25, 2016) University of Utah pediatrics infectious disease specialist Carrie Byington, M.D., is heading up the United States Olympics Committee’s Infectious Disease Advisory Group, working to keep athletes traveling to Brazil safe from Zika virus and running a study to monitor 100 athletes, coaches, and staff for potential Zika infections.

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  • Why Does Utah Rank So High in Health Care?

    (May 2, 2016) Utah holds a unique distinction when it comes to health care: No other state spends less per capita on medical care and few boast healthier populations. The question is, why?

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  • Vivian Lee: Trust in Your Own Leadership Style

    (April 29, 2016) The daughter of immigrants who hadn’t mastered English, Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A. became CEO of a health care system and developed her own unique “consultative” leadership style along the way.

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  • Why Doctors Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Online Reviews

    (March 29, 2016) University of Utah Health Care CEO Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., discusses how the health care system’s bold move to post patient-written physician reviews online has improved care and built trust.

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  • Doctors Strive to Do Less Harm By Inattentive Care

    (February 17, 2015) Hospitals have been surveying discharged patients for years, but by posting patient-written physician reviews online University of Utah Health Care made it clear that each patient visit was “a high-stakes interaction,” Gina Kolata reports. Patient satisfaction scores soared.

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  • A Utah Hospital Cracks the Code on Better, More Affordable Care

    (Nov. 27, 2015) "Many hospitals admit they can barely keep track of their own operating costs, and those costs get passed on to us. But one hospital in Utah has figured out a way to get a handle on the problem and others are anxious to follow its lead," reports news anchor Lester Holt.

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  • Addressing Disparities in Academic Medicine Moving Forward

    (September 15, 2015) Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., and Carrie Byington, M.D., M.B.A., examine data showing the potential of women in medicine and science has not been fully realized.

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  • What Are a Hospital’s Costs? Utah System Is Trying to Learn

    (September 7, 2015) Price is one thing, but what does it actually cost to provide health care? University of Utah Health Care is among a few health systems in the country able to answer those questions, Gina Kolata reports.

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  • Building a Bridge Between Value and Volume

    (October 7, 2014) University of Utah Health Care Chief Quality Officer Robert Pendleton provides a recipe for reconciling the oft-competing drivers of volume and value since passage of the Affordable Care Act. The key ingredient: "It's got to be about the patient.

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  • Given Choice, Parents Pick Cheaper Medical Procedure for Children

    (Oct. 1, 2014) "It is common wisdom that patients don't like to think about cost when it comes to health care. But what if the problem is that they’re so rarely even given that information?" wrote Elisabeth Rosenthal about a University of Utah study which found parents given pricing for different forms of surgery tended to select the cheaper option.

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  • Out-Yelping Yelp

    (July 26, 2014) The University of Utah decided to “turn the trend” of popular but unverifiable patient-written physician ratings as the first of a growing field of health centers to survey its patients and publish their reviews online.

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  • Retooling Hospitals, One Data Point at a Time

    (June 20, 2014) The University of Utah health system is one of a handful in the nation with a data system that can track cost and quality of care for every one of its patients and share data with care providers to streamline cost and improve care.

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  • Online Reviews Could Help Fix Medicine

    (June 3, 2014) Thomas H. Lee, M.D., chief medical officer at the nation’s leading provider of patient surveys, shares his perspective on the University of Utah's pioneering move to publish patient satisfaction scores online, noting the health system was "richly rewarded."

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  • Engaging Doctors in the Health Care Revolution

    (June 3, 2014) University of Utah Health Care is featured in an article by Thomas H. Lee and Toby Cosgrove discussing how physicians can help propel health care transformation.

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On The National Stage

Leadership: Translating Success

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Innovation in Health Care Leadership: Transparency in Quality Data, Pricing, and Medical Records

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NPR: Marketplace - Putting a Price on Health Care

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The Takeaway - Even Hospitals are Confused about Health Care Costs

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Academic Medical Centers: The Future of Health Care

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Does health data transparency have to be dangerous?

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