Faculty and staff from the Division of Health Sciences joined in the campus strategic planning initiative at town hall forums at the Moores Cancer Center on Feb. 7 and the Hillcrest Medical Center on Feb. 8. The discussions examined the Division’s role as San Diego’s only academic medical center, its mission to generate research discoveries that spur clinical innovations, and the challenges it faces in sustaining revenues and improving patient care.
“I look on the Health System as an integral part of UC San Diego,” Chancellor Pradeep Khosla told participants. “When the hospitals and the School of Medicine do well, all of the University does well.”
Paul Viviano, CEO of the campus Health System, and David Brenner, Health Sciences Vice Chancellor and School of Medicine Dean, led the sessions by posing three questions to their colleagues about charting the future of the division. Some responses focused on the specific operations of the hospitals and medical school, while others took a broader look at institutional issues.
What differentiates the UC San Diego Health System from other academic medical centers in its tripartite mission of clinical care, research, and education?
- Faculty and students at the School of Medicine have extraordinary opportunities to team up with colleagues in top-ranked campus departments on cutting-edge research topics. Examples include bioengineering studies with the Jacobs School of Medicine and projects with Calit2 on management of big data sets.
- As the major provider of health care to indigent San Diegans, UC San Diego will be especially vulnerable to revenue shifts that result from the Affordable Health Care Act.
How can UC San Diego and the Health System better serve the San Diego community?
- Community-based medical research in San Diego could be expanded through new partnerships with grass-roots organizations and non-profit agencies.
- The Health System should be more energetic in educating the public about all the ways that UC San Diego medical research and medical education improves clinical care throughout the community.
How can UC San Diego and the Health System work together to move forward and be successful?
- The creation of new interdisciplinary faculty positions would lower the bureaucratic walls that block collaboration between the Health System and the general campus.
- UC San Diego employees should be offered incentives to receive their medical care through the UC San Diego Health System. Campus leadership initiatives should make special efforts to include and accommodate Medical School faculty, especially junior faculty and faculty who carry large clinical care workloads.
Participants also offered suggestions on ways to reduce costs and enhance the quality of patient care:
- To avoid ordering duplicative tests that increase stress on patients, physicians should stay informed and up-to-date about diagnostic protocols.
- Administrators should develop new programs to help patients navigate the Health System by centralizing scheduling and other services and clarifying unit responsibilities.
Chancellor Khosla commended the assembled health professionals for their dedication to patient care. “Just as the student experience is for the general campus,” he said, “the patient experience should be the primary motivator that drives all our decision-making.”