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Value-Driven Healthcare

Background and Overview

Value-driven (or value-based) healthcare has become a national priority, captured well by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s “Triple Aim” to improve the quality of and patient satisfaction with care, improve the health of populations, and reduce the costs of care. Much of the legislation within the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act attempts to incentivize healthcare systems to focus on value and seek high quality outcomes while minimizing costs of care. The University of Utah has been a leader in this respect, optimizing care delivery through process improvement and capturing true costs of care through innovative accounting mechanisms.


The Value-Driven Healthcare Pathway will introduce students to fundamental concepts in healthcare improvement, including quality improvement, patient safety, patient experience, and cost. Based on these principles, students will learn specific strategies currently in practice both at the University of Utah and other institutions across the nation. Students will also learn from local leaders what it takes to lead change, and how these strategies are successfully deployed in the real world. Students will have the opportunity to apply all of this knowledge and practice in local improvement projects as part of a longitudinal experience with guidance and mentorship.


More and more, as healthcare delivery becomes consolidated under large organizations, physicians will need to expand their skillset beyond the technical aspects of clinical diagnosis and management. To lead change, physicians will need to work within organizations and systems of care to identify areas for improvement and work effectively as part of a team. The goal of this pathway is to prepare students for this future.


Why You Should Consider the Pathway

Students interested in improvement of healthcare organizations, healthcare leadership and administration, and system-based improvement and efficiency should strongly consider this pathway. Some of the topics addressed will include:

  • Theory and practice of quality improvement and patient safety
  • Strategies to reduce waste and unnecessary care
  • Clinic restructuring and system optimization
  • Improvement of the patient experience
  • Principles and strategies for leading change


Pathway Objectives

The goal of this pathway is to train medical student to practice in the current environment of value-driven healthcare. Topics covered will be directly applicable to educational expectations for all medical students in systems-based practice as required by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). The knowledge and skills in value-driven healthcare are rapidly becoming a pre-requisite for the effective and efficient practice of medicine.  Upon completion this curriculum, medical students will:

  • Explain key concepts in each of the 5 content domains (Value, Quality, Service, Cost and Safety).
  • Apply basic value improvement principles to improve healthcare delivery locally through clinical, educational, and/or scholarly improvement work.


Example Activities Within The Pathway

Students in this pathway will have the opportunity to participate in:

  • Activities to build skills in problem solving and structured improvement methodology
  • Local quality improvement projects within the University of Utah Health system
  • Participation in patient safety investigation and root cause analysis
  • Interactive discussions with local experts and leaders in value


Example Pathway Schedule

The Value-Driven Healthcare Pathway currently consists of three courses and a longitudinal experience:

  • Year 1 Foundations of Value-Driven Healthcare (0.5 credits)
  • Year 1 Strategies for Healthcare Improvement (0.5 credits)
  • Year 2 Leading Change in Healthcare (0.5 credits)
  • Year 2+ Longitudinal project in quality improvement
  • Year 4  Capstone summative experience (details TBD)



For more information, contact: Phuong-Anh Duong ( or Brock O'Neal (


For any further questions please contact:

Kerri Shaffer, MEd, MLIS
Director of Curriculum and Faculty Support