By Ramin Rajaii
UCLA Luskin Student Writer
You constantly hear of the major challenges plaguing the current U.S. healthcare system. But what you often don’t hear are the innovative strides underway to propel the country towards sustainable and improved patient-centered care.
Andrea Sorensen, a 2012 Public Policy graduate of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs is amidst this world of change.
Since last July, Sorensen has been investigating the most pressing clinical obstacles facing the nation as a Fellow in the High Value Healthcare Collaborative (HVHC) at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.
HVHC, formed in 2010, is a collaborative comprised of 15 prestigious health systems from around the U.S. including Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Denver Health, and UCLA, amongst others. Its mission: improve healthcare and outcomes, reduce variation in practice and lower costs.
"The idea is that through sharing institutional-level data in areas of cost, care, and outcomes, observed variation in these areas will help reveal best practice care models currently in place at these health systems," Sorensen said. "The hope is that those effective care models can then be disseminated and implemented across other HVHC member health systems.”
The initial focus of
HVHC is on high volume, high cost conditions including total knee and hip
replacement, diabetes, congestive heart failure, depression, and spine
In addition, Sorensen noted that “last July, the Collaborative received a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Challenge Award. One of the primary goals is to spread shared decision making using decision aids and health coaching across institutions in both preference sensitive - hip and knee elective surgery - as well as decisions around chronic condition treatment. Patients who are more informed about treatment options and engaged in their care will not only improve care and better align with patient values and preferences, but also potentially lead to reduced utilization.”
The award is anticipated to result in savings of $64 million over the next three years.
In addition to the grant
work, Sorensen has been working closely with HVHC institutions to launch
diabetes pilot programs in three areas: complex patient management strategies for
diabetics with multiple comorbidities, remote management for diabetics, and
depression screening and follow up for diabetics.
“The challenge is to ensure that there is enough consistency across institutions implementing these interventions so that we will be able to effectively evaluate the impact of these interventions, but also allowing for some flexibility in order for institutions to implement these protocols successfully at their local environments, which can vary drastically across the country.”
Prior to joining
Dartmouth, Sorensen’s accomplishments at UCLA culminated in her receiving the
2012 Applied Policy Project department award of highest honors.
In her project, she and Jennifer Salcedo (MPP ’12) discussed barriers to the provision of immediate postabortal contraception for low-income women in California, a resource demonstrated to significantly reduce rates of subsequent abortions. A manuscript based on their APP was published in Contraception this past April.
What’s the next step for
This fall, she will be returning to UCLA to pursue a Ph.D. in health services research, focusing on implementation science and comparative effectiveness research. Nevertheless, she hopes to continue a simultaneous, collaborative effort with HVHC and The Dartmouth Institute.