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Delivering high-value care is the key to success in the new healthcare marketplace.

Ralph Muller, CEO, University of Pennsylvania Health System, recently spoke to LG Health/Penn Medicine leaders about the importance of delivering value to patients.

Ralph Muller, CEO, University of Pennsylvania Health System, delivered that message in a recent speech to LG Health/Penn Medicine leaders in Lancaster. Muller offered an overview of existing efforts to improve value across the health system and outlined strategies for the future.

“Patients obviously want the best care. They want to pay less, and they want convenience,” he said. “Our commitment is to provide care as close to home as possible. That’s what patients want.”

Penn Medicine is uniquely positioned to deliver value to both patients and payers, Muller said. The health system’s value efforts have a broad impact that is reflected in lower healthcare utilization, higher quality of care, coordination across care episodes, and improved patient outcomes and experience.

Muller also praised LG Health’s programs to manage population health and deliver value, including patient-centered medical homes, technology advances and clinical effectiveness teams.

“I commend you on all the success you’ve had,” he said. “There are so many opportunities where we can learn from each other.”

Penn responded to the challenges of healthcare reform with what Muller calls “No Regret Moves,” including the growth of programs, facilities and partnerships throughout the region, as well as investments in information technology and innovation.

Succeeding in value-based healthcare

  • Payment: Value cannot be separated from how we get paid. We need the cooperation of payers.

  • Total cost of care: We must focus on the total cost of care and managing patients over time. We will continue to adopt more bundles, which will require changing incentives – how to work within global budgets to do the right thing for patients.

  • Long-term patient relationships: Patients want to be associated with a system that has a strong reputation and a distributed network for all medical conditions. We must show the value of receiving all care from a single health system – better management of care, better outcomes, EHR to coordinate care and follow-ups, and quicker return to normal life.

  • Organizational goal: We must focus on generating value at all levels of the organization – service lines, inpatient units, ambulatory, post-acute and home care.

This strategy has yielded promising results, including significant increases in financial and physician assets, all-time high patient experience scores and a reduced risk-adjusted mortality ratio.

“The work we’ve done together is saving lives,” Muller said. “We provide great outcomes to the people we serve.”

Penn physicians work together as a team, leading innovative programs, utilizing technology and delivering care beyond traditional settings, he said. This team approach leads to improved patient outcomes -- such as decreased hospitalizations and readmissions -- and reduces costs over time.

The uncertainty and challenges of today’s marketplace make delivering value more important than ever, Muller said. For example, more patients are purchasing insurance on the exchanges, which offer increasingly narrow networks. Patients also are becoming more exposed to the cost of care.

Muller outlined a number of strategies Penn utilizes to deliver value to patients:

  • We provide the highest quality, most advanced medical care in the region.

  • We build programs around the patient through service lines and disease teams, with a focus on standardized care and improved outcomes.

  • We are committed to expanding our regional footprint. Our network of sites within a 100-mile radius improves access close to where patients live and work.

  • We deliver the ideal patient experience and develop long-term relationships, particularly with high-risk patients.

  • We tie care episodes together with a single system-wide electronic medical record and patient portal, making information available everywhere.

  • We continue to innovate around patient care.

Penn Medicine is the only fully integrated health system in the region – offering inpatient, ambulatory, post-acute, rehab and home care all under one electronic medical record and one management structure – that can deliver on these value-based programs in a coordinated way, Muller said.

“It’s our obligation to help change the healthcare system,” he said. “I hope you can see the kind of strength we have together. We are better suited to deliver value than anybody else.”

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