As the rising cost of healthcare proves to be one of the nation’s largest challenges, the State of Utah has innovated to stay ahead of this complex issue.
For example, Utah was one of the first to develop its own health exchange. The Beehive State has a robust network of hospitals that provide top care to patients, and is home to the University of Utah, a renowned medical research university, as well as the Huntsman Cancer Institute. It’s no wonder the State of Utah has one of the nation’s healthiest populations.
- Utah consistently ranks among the healthiest U.S. states.
- #1: Utah has the lowest rates of cancer deaths and diabetes in the nation.
- #1: Utah is lowest in the nation in healthcare costs.
- #1: Utah is best in the nation in avoidable hospital use and costs.
Avenue H: Utah’s Health Exchange is Ahead of the Curve
Avenue H is an internet-based portal that enables small business owners to offer affordable health benefits to their employees. Participating companies contribute a defined amount toward their employees’ health insurance policies. Using the Avenue H portal, employees can compare and choose whichever policy best meets their families’ needs. This gives businesses and consumers greater control over their healthcare and healthcare financing. Four of the state’s largest health insurance companies participate in Avenue H and together offer around 140 different health plans.
cHIE: Getting Everyone on the Same Page
The Clinical Health Information Exchange (cHIE) is Utah’s electronic health information exchange. It provides a secure place for patients to share medical information with healthcare professionals, enabling them to access prior tests results, medications, allergies, imaging reports and other information. This access helps medical providers give the best possible treatments, reduce medical costs and improve outcomes.
Select Major Healthcare Systems in Utah
University of Utah Health Care
The Intermountain West’s only academic healthcare system, with a six-state referral region.
- Encompasses four hospitals, 10 community clinics and several specialty centers.
- Ranked in the top 10 of all academic medical centers in the country by the University Health System Consortium.
- For the 18th time, ranked among the top hospitals and health systems in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
A nonprofit system of 22 hospitals, more than 185 physician clinics and an affiliated health insurance company, SelectHealth.
- Regarded as a national model healthcare system.
- Currently involved in more than 1,340 research studies.
- Primary Children’s Hospital is nationally recognized for its pediatric specialties.
- Recognized for its leadership in information technology, particularly its use of data-mining and clinical decision support to improve patient outcomes.
Utah’s Healthy Population 2012 State Rankings
- Prevalence of smoking
- Cancer deaths
- High blood pressure
- Heart Attacks
- Preventable Hospitalizations
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Physical activity
- Cardiac Heart Disease
- Binge drinking
- Youth obesity
- Income desparity
Other Top 10 Finishes: Overall (7), Cardiovascular deaths (4), Infant mortality (4), High cholesterol (4), Health status (4), Violent crime (5), Obesity (6), Premature death (6), Stroke (7), Children in poverty (8), Poor physical health days (9) Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation
Utah’s Hospitals Rank High
Primary Children’s Medical Center (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Nationally ranked in 7 pediatric specialties: cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics & urology
LDS Hospital (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Nationally ranked in gynecology
- 5 high-performing specialties
University of Utah Health Care (Salt Lake City, UT)
- 10 high-performing specialties
Intermountain Medical Center (Murray, UT)
- 8 high-performing specialties
Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital Center (Ogden, UT)
- 5 high-performing specialties
Utah Valley Regional Medical Center (Provo, UT)
- 4 high-performing specialties
Timpanogos Regional Hospital (Orem, UT)
- 1 high-performing specialty
Source: US News & World Report Best Hospitals Study
Utah’s Life Science Sector: A Legacy of Innovation
Utah plays a leading role in key biotechnology and genetics-based breakthroughs that impact medical innovation and healthcare delivery worldwide. The State of Utah is actively working to strengthen its life science industry. A recent report from the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership reveals that Utah is highly specialized in four major subsectors of the industry:
- Medical devices and equipment
- Drugs and pharmaceuticals
- Research, testing and medical labs
- Biomedical distribution
BioTech Research Projects, Organizations and Initiatives in Utah
Utah Population Database (UPDB) at the University of Utah is one of the world’s richest sources of in-depth information that supports research on genetics, epidemiology, demography and public health. For more than 30 years, researchers at the University of Utah and other institutions have used the database to identify and study individuals and families that have higher than normal incidence of cancer or other diseases, to analyze patterns of genetic inheritance, and to identify specific genetic mutations.
Utah Biobank Initiative (UBI) is working to create a multi-institutional biorepository comprised of biospecimens and relevant data including demographic, medical and environmental information about the donors.
The USTAR BioInnovations Center, located at Utah State University, houses highly advanced life sciences laboratories and provides researchers the resources to seek cures for a range of human and animal diseases. USTAR teams such as the Applied Nutrition Research team, Veterinary Diagnostics and Infectious Disease team and the Synthetic Bio-Manufacturing Center occupy lab and clinical space.
ARUP Laboratories is a leading clinical and anatomic pathology reference laboratory that processes 35,000 specimens of blood, fluid and tissue samples every day. It has developed more than 400 clinical laboratory tests.
The Nano Institute, the Brain Institute and the Department of Bioengineering are housed in the University of Utah’s 208,000 square-foot multidisciplinary James L. Sorenson Molecular Technology Building, a USTAR Innovation Center, which also features a nanofabrication facility and extensive microscopy and materials characterization suite. The Nano Institute, for example, is focused on the development of nano-based diagnostics and therapeutics. It is also working to improve the performance of implants and promote functional regeneration of tissue, along with work on polymer innovations for gene therapy and enhanced delivery of therapeutics.
The Huntsman Cancer Institute is noted for its contributions in identifying the genetic mutations responsible for inherited susceptibility to a number of cancers. It is also researching experimental therapeutics and is working toward early-phase clinical trials.
The University of Utah Center for Clinical and Translational Science is a collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare, University Health Care, Utah Department of Health and the Salt Lake City Veteran’s Administration to build on the university’s strengths in genetics and bioinformatics.
Brigham Young University has ongoing faculty research in molecular diagnostics, cancer-related drugs and genetics, Alzheimer’s disease risk factors and more.
The University of Utah Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute is creating new image analysis techniques to enable the visualization of complex and rich scientific data. It is also home to the Center for Integrative Biomedical Computing (CIBC), which is producing open-source software tools for biomedical image-based modeling, biomedical simulation and estimation, and the visualization of biomedical data.
The Utah Rural Scholars Program prepares students from rural Utah for admission into training programs for medical, dental and other health professions.
The Utah Telehealth Network (UTN) links patients in rural areas to healthcare providers across the state, country and the world with leadingedge telecommunications technology. UTN provides rural patients and providers with access to services that are usually available only in more populated urban areas.