Discovering care delivery innovations to solve the nation's health-care affordability crisis

Rising health care costs threaten our economy and societal harmony. Inefficiently delivered health care is estimated to comprise at least 20 percent of U.S. health spending. The upward spending trajectory jeopardizes federal creditworthiness and chokes off investment in our children’s education and basic research. It also slowly strangles job and wage growth and weakens the global competitiveness of U.S. employers.

Aside from its cost – it is by far the most expensive in the world – the U.S. health system does not deliver distinguished overall results.

Life expectancy at birth in the United States is 78 years, placing it last compared to Western Europe, Canada, and Australia. Comparisons with other wealthy countries of the quality of U.S. health care reveals islands of excellence but no distinction overall. Patients receive treatment that is consistent with clinical guidelines grounded in scientific evidence in only 55 percent of cases.

The U.S. health system could move from a global laggard to a global leader in health gain per dollar invested.

The Stanford Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC) was established in 2011 expressly for this purpose. Led by Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH, the center’s director and a professor of medicine with deep experience in large-scale clinical value improvement, CERC brings together the brightest minds in medicine, engineering, and management science to re-engineer facets of care that consume the greatest share of U.S. health spending.

Stanford is the first major research university to invest in the science of producing better patient-defined health outcomes with less money. As a leader in transforming electrical engineering research into high value information and communications technologies, the university can now play a catalytic role in the science of efficient health care delivery.

Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH, founded CERC after two decades of improving health-care value in the private sector and advising the White House and Congress. He is now training America's next generation of health-care innovators to replace the wasteful and dangerous inefficiencies that ail the U.S. health-care system.