RalphUPHS is a broad but tightly connected health system.

One of the things that unites usis an emphasis on making good use of shrinking health-care resources throughprograms and research that improve care, lower readmissions, and save dollars.

For example, our transitions-in-careinitiative keeps patients out of the hospital by making sure that they’relinked to primary care physicians, have the right medications, and in general,know what to do after discharge.

Recently, four exciting UPHSprojects that also aim to make patients healthier while saving money have beenselected for funding by the federal government.

The first two are Health Care Innovation Award winnersselected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. One, led by DavidAsch, MD, MBA, and Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, will use remote monitoring and avisual and audible reminder system to improve medication-compliance amongdischarged heart-attack patients in our area. It will also train social workersto provide additional monitoring -- as well as offer incentives to the patientsfor compliance and enlist the support of family members and friends to helpkeep patients on their regimens. This project builds on Dr. Asch’s and Dr. Volpp’simpressive work applying insights from behavioral economics to improve patienthealth.

The second, led by DavidCasarett, MD, chief medical officer for Penn Wissahickon Hospice and a member ofour Department of Medicine, will test a full set of home-care services forMedicare and Medicaid recipients with advanced cancer but who are not yeteligible for hospice care. The project will provide symptom management, generalcare, and emotional and spiritual assistance to patients, enabling them toremain in their homes and avoid costly hospitalizations. It will enable Dr.Casarett and Penn Home Care & Hospice Services, where the initiative willbe based, to play a leading part in shaping the future of home-based care.

Next, our Center forEvidence-based Practice, in partnership with the ECRI Institute, has beenselected by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) as one of its11 new Evidence-based Practice Centers. Thismajor accomplishment means that Penn clinicians and researchers can bid forcontracts through AHRQ and other funding organizations to review and synthesizeliterature on therapeutic and diagnostic interventions to assess which are most beneficial to patients. Thefindings can be used as the basis for health-care-related decisions by thefederal government, states, and national medical societies as well as serve asthe basis for future policy and clinical measures, insurance coverage, qualitystandards, and educational materials.

And the US Department of Healthand Human Services has selected HUP as one of five hospitals that will takepart in a nationwide initiative to train more nurses at a higher level. Thefour-year project, funded under the Affordable Care Act, will enable HUP toincrease training opportunities for advanced practice registered nurses -- nurseswith post-graduate training -- to diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication andtreatment regimens, and perform certain medical procedures. The goal is tostrengthen the nation's primary care work force by placing more such nurses intopractice and help fill gaps in non-hospital community-based settings, includingin underserved areas. Training will take place at over 200 training sitesthroughout southeastern Pennsylvania. The project, which will help offset thecosts of clinical education of advanced-practice nurses, features a consortium thatincludes Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Pennsylvania Hospital, CPUP, CCA, andCHOP, as well as Penn’s School of Nursing and eight other area nursing schools.

I know you join me incongratulating everyone involved in developing these important projects and inoffering best wishes for success in carrying them out. Together they reinforceour system-wide commitment to creating new approaches that bring hope topatients and their families while keeping a keen eye on the need to rein incosts, thus ensuring that our nation’s health care dollars go farther and withgreater effect. This is indeed the Penn way.

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