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“Innovation” Institutes in Academic Health Centers: Enhancing Value Through Leadership, Education, Engagement, and Scholarship

Pines, Jesse M. MD, MBA, MSCE; Farmer, Steven A. MD, PhD; Akman, Jeffrey S. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000419

In the next decade, the biggest change in medicine in the United States will be the organizational transformation of the delivery system. Organizations—including academic health centers—able to achieve better outcomes for less will be the financial winners as new payment models become more prevalent. For medical educators, the question is how to prepare the next generation of physicians for these changes. One solution is the development of new “innovation” or “value” institutes. Around the nation, many of these new institutes are focused on surmounting barriers to value-based care in academic health centers, educating faculty, house staff, and medical students in discussions of cost-conscious care. Innovation institutes can also lead discussions about how value-based care may impact education in environments where there may be less autonomy and more standardization. Quality metrics will play a larger role at academic health centers as metrics focus more on outcomes than processes. Optimizing outcomes will require that medical educators both learn and teach the principles of patient safety and quality improvement. Innovation institutes can also facilitate cross-institutional discussions to compare data on utilization and outcomes, and share best practices that maximize value. Another barrier to cost-conscious care is defensive medicine, which is highly engrained in U.S. medicine and culture. Innovation institutes may not be able to overcome all the barriers to making medical care more cost-conscious, but they can be critical in enabling academic health centers to optimize their teaching and research missions while remaining financially competitive.

Dr. Pines is director, Office for Clinical Practice Innovation, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Professor of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Dr. Farmer is associate director, Office for Clinical Practice Innovation, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and associate professor of cardiology and health policy, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Dr. Akman is Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine, vice president for health affairs, and dean, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Pines, 2100 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Room 314, Washington, DC 20037; e-mail:

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges