Value-Based Health Care: A Definition

Per capita, the U.S. spends more than any other country on health care, but the investment doesn’t translate to superior health. Value-based health care could redefine that.

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Elizabeth Teisberg, co-author of “Redefining Health Care“

value-based health care:

1. health care that improves the outcomes that matter most to individuals and their families at an appropriate cost

2. the change required by a burning platform*


* This is what some thought leaders call the current health care system, which organizes services around physician specialties and payment models rather than patient needs — rewarding more treatment instead of better health.

Evidence of the flames: Per capita, the U.S. spends more than any other country on health care, but the investment doesn’t translate to superior health and is economically unsustainable. Dell Medical School is part of a movement to change this by equipping current and rising leaders to abandon the burning platform for relationship-centered models of care that reward value. It is home, with the McCombs School of Business, to a dedicated Value Institute for Health and Care led by Elizabeth Teisberg, executive director, and Scott Wallace, managing director. (In 2006, Teisberg and Michael Porter co-wrote the foundational book on value-based health care, “Redefining Health Care.”)

The well-proven reality is that value-based health care improves outcomes that matter to the individuals and families we serve. The Value Institute for Health and Care is enabling high-value care delivery to scale and to spread geographically. The transformation going on now is from value to volume — making high-value results available for all.

Scott Wallace, J.D., MBA
Managing Director, Value Institute for Health & Care

With the 2017 launch of UT Health Austin, the school’s clinical practice and its next step toward building a comprehensive academic health system, interdisciplinary care teams began putting a value-based approach to work for the benefit of the Central Texas community.

“While the challenge of transforming health care is huge, the goal is simple: We need to restore health care to its purpose of improving health — enabling capability, comfort and calm in the lives of individuals and families,” Teisberg says.


Spreading the Movement

Bringing a value-based approach to the proving ground of UT Health Austin is only the start.

For practicing physicians and other leaders in the health sector, the Value Institute for Health and Care offers workshops, practical support for transformation of care delivery and a new Master of Science in Health Care Transformation degree. Workshops bring together leaders from around the world to learn and share insights on how to implement transformation to high-value care delivery through changes in culture, strategy and measurement. The M.S. degree in Health Care Transformation is a nonresidential, highly interactive program for mid-career, up-and-coming leaders in clinical enterprises and throughout the health sector.

Dell Med is also training a new generation of physician leaders to focus on improving the outcomes that matter to patients and families. Beyond its own “Leading EDGE” undergraduate curriculum, “Discovering Value-Based Health Care” is freely available through OnlineMedEd.org. Created by a team of experts led by Assistant Dean for Health Care Value Christopher Moriates, the collection is used by a growing roster of undergraduate medical programs across the country — including at NYU and the University of Virginia.

“No other medical school in the U.S. has a title like mine in the dean’s office — not yet, anyway,” Moriates notes. “By building it into the leadership structure, Dell Med demonstrates its commitment to ensuring future health care professionals understand the principles of value-based care and practice it naturally.”