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On July 1, we started our UW Medicine fiscal year and welcomed new faculty, fellows, residents and students to our patient care teams. As I think about this new year, I have tremendous pride in our progress and great optimism for UW Medicine’s future.

In healthcare today, rapid change is the one constant. Even though it is not always comfortable, change is necessary for success with our mission to improve the health of the public. Consider these examples of recent progress:

    • More than 1,000 faculty members are leading research programs that are changing the course of disease with ambitious projects such as the development of a breast cancer vaccine by the Cancer Vaccine Institute (see video). For the fifth consecutive year, UW Medicine faculty received more than $1 billion in research funding.
    • An effective continuous improvement approach is changing the curriculum for medical students and continuing to improve our educational programs for professional students, graduate students and clinical trainees.
    • Through UW Medicine Patients Are First, the overall rating for hospital care has increased from the 64th percentile in 2012 to the 78th percentile last year.


Looking ahead, I would like to highlight several strategic change initiatives that are crucial to our continued progress and success.

To address the extremely challenging healthcare reimbursement environment, the Financial Improvement & Transformation (FIT) program is our top priority. Simply stated, success with our mission depends on our financial health. Under the direction of Lisa Brandenburg, chief health system officer, and Jacqueline Cabe, chief financial officer, we have identified plans for revenue generation and cost reduction that will put us on a solid long-term financial footing.

We have already made significant progress. Compared to the $75 million operating loss in FY17 (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017), we expect to end FY18 with a balanced budget. We will need the support of every unit to achieve our margin (net income) goals for subsequent years so that we have the resources to invest in people, programs and technology. Please look for detailed information from your unit leaders and the FIT team about specific goals for your area.

As part of the FIT program, UW Medicine is planning a clinical transformation project to standardize our information systems with a single electronic health record. The goals of the project are to remove obstacles to providing care, improve patient engagement, enhance the provider experience, create better workflows for our clinical teams and provide for greater efficiencies across the business and operating platforms. Pending Board of Regents approval on July12, we expect the project to start later this quarter and finish in 2020.

UW Medicine’s long-term success also requires changes in how our health system is structured. One example is the integration of Northwest Hospital & Medical Center and UW Medical Center. In preparation for operating both hospitals under a single license in January 2020, project teams are working on plans to improve access for patients, align clinical services, improve financial performance and reduce administrative complexity.

The creation of a clinically integrated network (CIN) with MultiCare Health System is another response to changes in the healthcare market. Through this network, we will contract directly with large employers and other payers to provide comprehensive and affordable care. Under a multiyear plan, we will begin by establishing the CIN as a separate legal entity, adding partner organizations, appointing a governing body and hiring key management positions.

As I have written previously, UW Medicine must address institutional racism. The UW Medicine Healthcare Equity Blueprint describes our plan to become a national model for reducing disparities in healthcare. We are also developing additional training programs to help us understand unconscious biases. I encourage you to participate in these training programs and to engage in thoughtful conversations about how we can promote diversity, equity and inclusion in UW Medicine.

Despite the uncertainties associated with change, I believe that these initiatives and others will enable us to provide high-quality patient care, improve the health of populations and decrease healthcare costs — the three goals of healthcare reform (see Triple Aim). We must also continue to focus on advancing the excellence of our research and education programs. Success with our mission depends on integration of excellent education, research and patient care programs.

Thank you for your support as we make changes to build a bright future for UW Medicine and advance our mission of improving health for all people.


Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.

CEO, UW Medicine

Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and

Dean of the School of Medicine,

University of Washington


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