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The News Room


Immune System Promotes Digestive Health by Fostering Community of “Good” Gut Bacteria

Hear about the research on The Scope Radio SALT LAKE CITY - As many as 1.4 million Americans suffer from uncomfortable abdominal cramping and diarrhea that come with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These conditions, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are associated with an imbalance among the thousands of ...

Defying Textbook Science, Study Finds New Role for Proteins

Open any introductory biology textbook and one of the first things you’ll learn is that our DNA spells out the instructions for making proteins, tiny machines that do much of the work in our body’s cells. Results from a study published on Jan. 2 in Science defy textbook science, showing ...

American College of Medical Informatics Honors Dr. Julio Facelli

Dr. Julio Facelli has been elected as a 2014 Fellow to the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA).  The ACMI Fellowship is one of the highest honors in the field of informatics. Congratulations Dr. Facelli. The ACMI originated in 1984 when five pioneers in ...

Human DNA Shows Traces of 40 Million-Year Battle For Survival Between Primate and Pathogen

Study Highlights Importance of Nutritional Immunity in Fighting Infectious Disease Listen to an interview about the research on The Scope Radio (SALT LAKE CITY) – Examination of DNA from 21 primate species – from squirrel monkeys to humans – exposes an evolutionary war against infectious bacteria over iron that circulates in the ...

New Research Shows Fewer Deaths Related to RSV than Previously Thought

It’s a virus that has long been characterized as dangerous and even deadly, but new research shows infant deaths from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are actually quite uncommon in the 21st century.    Researchers at the University of Utah have shown there are approximately 42 deaths annually associated with RSV in the ...

Genetic Variation Protects Against Major Cause of Strokes--Cervical Artery Dissection

(SALT LAKE CITY)—In an unprecedented international study, researchers from Europe and the United States have shown that individuals carrying a particular genetic variant in the PHACTR1 gene are at reduced risk of sustaining cervical artery dissection, a major cause of stroke in young and middle-aged adults. Cervical artery dissection is caused ...

Health Care Transformation


Could Peer Pressure Improve Care?

"A basic principle of health care is that everyone strongly favors transparency—for everyone but themselves," wrote Thomas H. Lee in the Harvard Business Review, extolling the virtues of the University of Utah's pioneering move to publish patient satisfaction scores on its Find-A-Doctor website. The U. was the first academic medical center in the U.S. to put patient reviews online, complete with comments and an accessible five-star ranking system. Doctors were justifiably nervous. But the U. was "richly rewarded for its creativity and courage," wrote Lee, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Press Ganey Associates, the nation's leading provider of patient surveys.

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Out-Yelping Yelp

Doctor rating websites are gaining in popularity, but the problem with consumer portals like ZocDoc and Healthgrades.com is it's impossible to verify if those submitting scathing or glowing comments are actual patients. Instead of allowing a few squeaky wheels to drive the discussion, the U. decided to "turn the trend" to its advantage, reports The Economist. It was the first of a growing field of health centers to survey its patients and publish their reviews online. "Most reviews are positive, and patient-satisfaction scores have improved...Happy patients communicate an co-operate better with their doctors."

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Getting a Grip on Costs

"To think that health care is this ginormous business that doesn't understand costs is mind-blowing," University of Utah Health Sciences Sr. VP, Vivian Lee told a reporter for Kaiser Health News and USA Today. Lee "was stunned" when in 2012 she challenged senior managers and physicians to reduce spending, and they told her they didn't know what it cost to provide care, so how could they manage spending? "Today, the 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 26,000 patients. Those data are shared with doctors and nurses for further input about ways to streamline cost and improve care."

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Since 2012, Algorithms for Innovation has been asking questions and searching for solutions to some of the most impossible problems facing health care today. We believe there's an unprecedented opportunity to invent a new vision for health care, and academic medicine is poised to lead the way. Algorithms for Innovation is designed to spark conversations, highlight best practices, and foster collaboration to help transform the future.

Vivian Lee

Vivian S. Lee
M.D., Ph.D., MBA

Senior VP for Health Sciences
Dean, School of Medicine
CEO, University of Utah Health Care
@vivianleemd +Vivian Lee

Jan

26

Building a Culture of Health

America’s growing burden of chronic disease is forcing the pendulum at hospitals and health systems to swing from episodic, acute clinical care toward wellness, disease prevention and disease management. As an industry we are now responsible for the full continuum of care, and for keeping patients healthy and out of hospitals.

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Jan

01

The Way Forward On the Shoulders of Giants

As we begin to imagine the future of health care and define its successful delivery in an academic medical setting, it is worth reflecting on just how far we have come as an organization. Making the notion of affordable and accessible health care a reality is hard work. What we know is that the most transformative and lasting changes don’t happen from top-down government policies and directives. They happen from within, driven by you as our students, faculty, staff and patients.

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Research Roundup


Scalpel or Scope? Costs Influence Consumers

Author: Eric R. Scaife
Co Author: Katie W. Russell
Journal: Annals of Surgery
Date: 09-01-2014

Consumer price comparison is almost nonexistent in the U.S. health care system, but University surgeons show in a study that when given the choice between a less costly "open" operation or a pricier laparoscopy for their children's appendicitis, parents were almost twice as likely to choose the less expensive procedure - when they were aware of the cost difference.

The study, shows that providing pricing information upfront can influence patient choice of surgical procedures and potentially lead to cost savings in health care, a sector of the economy that accounts for more than 17 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, says Eric R. Scaife, M.D., senior author, associate professor of surgery and chief of pediatric surgery. Surgery resident Katie W. Russell, M.D., is the study's first author.

View article in Annals of Surgery

If Mitochondria Don't Move, Motor Neuron Disease May Develop

Author: Janet Shaw
Co Author: Tammy T. Nguyen
Journal: PNAS
Date: 08-13-2014

Researchers long have known of a connection between mitochondrial function and distribution and neural disease, but they hadn’t been able to tell whether a defect occurs because mitochondria isn’t functioning properly or isn’t getting to the right.

Biochemistry professor Janet Shaw, Ph.D., and M.D./Ph.D. student Tammy T. Nguyen led a study that addressed that question and found that when mitochondria weren’t distributed along the spinal cord and axons in mouse models they developed, the animals developed symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases.

View article in PNAS

Research Lab Website

8,000-Year-Old Mutation Key to Human Life at High Altitude

Author: Josef Prchal
Co Author: Felipe Lorenzo
Journal: Nature Genetics
Date: 08-17-2014

Researchers long have known of a connection between mitochondrial function and distribution and neural disease, but they hadn’t been able to tell whether a defect occurs because mitochondria isn’t functioning properly or isn’t getting to the right.

Biochemistry professor Janet Shaw, Ph.D., and M.D./Ph.D. student Tammy T. Nguyen led a study that addressed that question and found that when mitochondria weren’t distributed along the spinal cord and axons in mouse models they developed, the animals developed symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases.

View article in Nature Genetics

Mouse Model Provides Window into the Working Brain

Author: Peter Tvrdik
Co Author: J. Michael Gee
Journal: Neuron
Date: 08-21-2014

University of Utah scientists developed a genetically engineered line of mice that is expected to open the door to new research on epilepsy, Alzheimer's and other diseases.

The mice carry a protein marker, which changes in degree of fluorescence in response to different calcium levels. This will allow researchers to study many cell types, including astrocytes and microglia, in a new way. John White, Ph.D., professor of bioengineering and executive director of the Brain Institute, is corresponding author of the study. Peter Trvdik, Ph.D., a fellow in human genetics, is senior author, and J. Michael Gee, who is pursing and M.D. and graduate degree in bioengineering, is first author.

View article in Neuron

In Utah, you can truly have it all. Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas offer new comers diverse neighborhoods, great schools, arts and entertainment, and endless possibilities for sports and recreation. A strong economy and low cost of living make Utah a perfect choice to call home.

University of Utah Health Sciences

University of Utah Health Sciences is an economic engine unlike any other in Utah. With more than 14,000 faculty and staff it is one of the state's largest employers and contributes millions of dollars in net tax revenue to Utah every year. But University of Utah Health Sciences' impact goes beyond the balance sheet. Its bottom line includes the health and well-being of Utah residents in every corner of the state and from all walks of life.

University of Utah Health Sciences is the only university health care system in the state of Utah and provides patient care for the people of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and much of Nevada. It is also the training ground for most of Utah's physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and other health care professionals.

Named as one of theTop 10 Safest Teaching HospitalsBy Consumer Reports

Named as one of the100 Great Hospitals In AmericaBy Becker's Hospital Review

Ranked as one of theBest Performing Health Care Systemsby us news & world report

Health Sciences Received$235 Million In GrantsDuring Fiscal Year 2013