UT institutions collaborate to leverage size, expertise to drive more efficient, improved health care
AUSTIN—University of Texas institutions are harnessing both technology and their collective reach to deliver higher quality health care more efficiently.
When it’s fully implemented, the UT System Health Intelligence Platform will gather data about various aspects of health care delivery, aggregate and analyze the data, and ultimately help medical providers make better decisions about patient care and how to deliver it.
UTHealth in Houston, home to the nation’s only free-standing school that specializes in health care informatics and data systems, is coordinating the development of the initiative, called UT-HIP. The initiative received $12.4 million in funding over four years from the UT System Board of Regents in May 2016.
“We want to improve the quality of care, we want to reduce costs and we want to improve the experience for patients,” said Zain Kazmi, assistant vice chancellor and chief analytics officer for the UT System Office of Health Affairs. “With data-driven decision-making, these three pillars of health care can all occur at the same time.”
The idea for UT-HIP was spurred by conversations between Chancellor William H. McRaven, Executive Vice Chancellor Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., and presidents of UT’s health institutions about how the size and expertise across UT institutions could be better leveraged to improve health care for Texans.
In the health care arena, the potential for impact is huge, given that collectively, UT- -owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics account for more than 6.78 million outpatient visits and 1.38 million hospital days annually.
“We have incredible assets and we have dedicated physicians, clinicians, researchers and leaders across multiple UT institutions,” said Robert Murphy, M.D., acting director of UT-HIP and associate dean of applied informatics at UTHealth. “Our opportunity is to bring everybody together – powered by data analytics – to make significant advances in care for our institutions and the patients we serve.”
The UT System’s investment in data-based decision-making also is a reflection of changes in the health care industry. As the conventional fee-for-service model shifts to an emerging value-based model, data analytics and data flow will support the assessment of both the costs of care and how care is delivered.
UT-HIP now is working with UT health institutions to assemble and analyze available inpatient quality and outcome data with the ultimate goal to “identify, illuminate and improve.” In other words, the initiative will identify evidence-based best practices, collaborate to figure out what will and won’t work at various UT institutions and then implement standards that result in improved patient care and lower costs.
“There is a huge opportunity to drive better health care for the state of Texas, and collaboration among institutions will be the key,” Murphy said.
About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 228,000 students, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates approximately two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System’s operating budget for FY 2017 is $17.9 billion, including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and many members of the National Academies – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.