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Grad School Will Offer Master's in Health Delivery

Cedars-Sinai's graduate school will expand next fall with the launch of a master's degree in health delivery science.

The new program will teach students how to measure and deliver valuable healthcare. These are critical skills in managing the pressures of the marketplace, which increasingly rewards medical providers for value of care rather than volume of procedures, said program director Brennan Spiegel, MD.

"Eighteen percent of the gross domestic product goes to healthcare, and there's a science behind how to use those resources in the most effective way," Spiegel said. "It's about improving the quality of care while at the same time reducing the cost."

The program will focus on four core pillars: data analytics, health informatics, healthcare financing, and performance measurement and improvement. For example, students will learn how to use visualization software to make data tell a story and how to program cost-effectiveness software.

The curriculum will explore the latest advances in digital health, including wearable biosensors, social media analytics, smartphone health apps and clinical informatics. Many healthcare employees learn these skill sets on the job but rarely take the time to systematically study them, Spiegel said. Each of these skills is often taught in a separate degree program.

The executive-style program, which is pending accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, will span 20 months and feature evening classes. Target students include clinicians and researchers as well as executives and administrators from industries such as healthcare, insurance, pharmaceuticals and biotech.

The program will feature a capstone project that pairs students with a research or operational team at Cedars-Sinai. Participants will work toward a completed program that aligns with their career goals, which they will present to health system leaders.

Spiegel developed the curriculum with the help of associate program director Teryl Nuckols, MD, and under the supervision of Leon Fine, MD, vice dean of Research and Graduate Research Education. Course organizers are accepting applications for the first class, which starts in September. The plan is to admit about 20 participants.

Though a few other schools have offered health delivery science programs, Spiegel said this one will be unique because it will be taught inside the largest hospital on the West Coast — a massive laboratory for testing and developing novel healthcare delivery models.

"It's the first program to combine aligned biomedical sciences into a single, applied degree that focuses on best practices in value-based healthcare delivery and embeds students directly within a major hospital system," Spiegel said. "Students are not housed in an affiliated school or program, but rather are integrated directly within the front lines of healthcare delivery while working hand in glove with diverse professionals managing decisions in a top-tier healthcare system."

Visit the program's website for more information.

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