Learning Health System Innovation

Improving procedures, processes and infrastructure

UCLA Health is proud to be an innovative health care system. As a continuous learning health system, we are always seeking new ways to improve our procedures, processes and infrastructure. By continually aspiring to more, we find ways to use our resources more efficiently, enhance patient well-being and save lives.

Some health care innovations come through small and incremental improvements. Others are major changes that usher in brand-new ways of doing things. As a learning health system, we consider any possible areas to improve, no matter how small or large.

As we implement changes to our system, we collect data to make sure those changes work as designed. With our data-driven approach, we can be confident that our health care innovations are making things better for our providers and patients.

Learning Health Systems Center of Excellence

In fall 2018, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute selected UCLA as one of 11 institutions to receive grant funding. The $3.7 million, 5-year grant will enable us to establish a Learning Health Systems Center of Excellence.

This exciting project will be a collaboration among UCLA, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

Through this project, we will prepare outstanding physicians and researchers to adopt new discoveries rapidly. This focus can improve care and outcomes for people with chronic diseases.

ValU Care Redesign

We believe our patients deserve the highest-value care we can provide. To achieve that goal, UCLA Health launched ValU Care Redesign in 2014. The three pillars of the ValU Care Redesign mission are:

  • Improve outcomes
  • Improve the patient experience
  • Reduce cost

Redesign doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel or jumping on the latest bandwagon. Rather, thoughtful redesign means finding innovative and effective ways to improve our care pathways.

In one example, we worked to improve coordination for patients being treated for brain tumors. In the past, patients with brain tumors were often frustrated trying to schedule appointments and coordinate care with multiple specialists. Through ValU Care Redesign, we created the UCLA Brain Tumor Center, where specialists from many departments work together as a coordinated group.

Across UCLA Health, ValU Care Redesign continues to find ways to improve care while increasing efficiency and lowering costs. ValU Care Redesign isn’t a one-time fix, but a permanent department committed to making health care better and better.

Performance Excellence

In its pursuit of performance excellence, UCLA Health uses the Lean method. This systematic approach to fixing broken or inefficient systems was first designed to boost efficiency in auto production. Adapted for health care, Lean helps health systems better understand and enhance their processes to improve care.

Learn how Lean Performance Improvement at Harbor–UCLA Medical Center is transforming health care for underserved patients.

Training the Next Generation

UCLA Health is committed to investing in the next generation of health care providers. To meet that goal, we have developed our own innovative training programs, including:

  • UCLA Health Medical Assistant Program: Current UCLA Health employees can receive discounted tuition through the UCLA Medical Assistant Program. This program helps people with limited incomes gain the skills they need to transition to a career as a medical assistant.
  • Institute for Precision Health: A new master’s degree program in genetic counseling, spearheaded by the Institute, will be offered through the UCLA Department of Human Genetics . In the fast-growing field of genetic counseling, genetic counselors are in demand to help patients understand test results. This program will help meet that need. Contact the Institute for Precision Health for more information.

Hands-On Learning

UCLA Health provides opportunities for experiential learning. Our commitment to hands-on training benefits everyone from current students to experienced physicians. 

The UCLA Simulation Center

The UCLA Simulation Center allows medical, nursing and dental students, as well as residents, staff nurses and practicing physicians, to strengthen their clinical skills and teamwork in a simulated environment.

UCLA was among the first institutions to integrate simulation technology more than two decades ago. Today, the center offers access to state-of-the-art simulation technology. The center provides lifelike mannequins and an array of medical devices and surgical equipment. The center also allows for interprofessional training, helping nursing, medical and pharmacy trainees learn to work together as a team.

The Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology

The Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology (CASIT) provides surgeons and students opportunities to practice operations virtually using advanced surgical simulators.

Just as pilots practice in cockpit simulation training, CASIT allows surgeons to rehearse before they perform a surgery on a living patient. The center works closely with partners in the physical sciences to create virtual or simulated operations in all surgical specialties.