Dr. Clay Johnston
Dean and Vice President for Medical Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School & UT Health Austin
Next-Generation Customer Experience
Dell Med is the first medical school to be built at a Tier 1 research university in nearly 50 years. Since accepting the job of inaugural dean in 2014, Dr. Johnston’s visionary leadership has helped establish Austin as a hub for health innovation and world-class care. UT Health Austin, which opened its doors in October 2017, brought to the region a new multidisciplinary ambulatory practice that was purposely built without patient waiting rooms. In its short tenure, UT Health Austin has advanced additional innovations such as new models of care delivery focused on value, demonstrating an alternative to more familiar fee-for-service examples.
The journey to a fully digitized PRO management system is difficult: A number of nationally adopted standards are missing, and mapping PRO data into an EMR absent those standards can be difficult. Dr. Johnston’s insistence on integration of and access to data inspired Dell Med to partner with national standards bodies to develop a path forward to appropriate mappings. Furthermore, Dell Med is actively collaborating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations (CMMI) to inform ongoing national discussions related to direct provider contracting as well as contracting between payers and providers.
Dr. Johnston’s focus on patient outcomes data and value-based care has achieved impressive results in a short period of time: Over 40,000 patients have been treated since 2017; 500,000 hours of clinical care have been provided; and the school’s inaugural class will graduate next May. In the clinical context, data from our newly implemented PRO management system have resulted in life-changing interventions that might otherwise have been missed. In one example from UT Health Austin’s LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, PRO data indicated that a young patient was severely depressed despite presenting otherwise. As a result, the patient received care he needed, and he is on his way to healing. He has also become one of the most persuasive patient advocates for the use of PRO data in clinical care.
Dr. Johnson understands that the power of PRO data cannot be understated and that health system transformation requires organizational effort. Dr. Clay Johnston’s leadership is providing much needed guidance in our transitioning world of health and care. Dell Med and UT Health Austin are grateful for Dr. Johnston’s steadfast leadership to achieve data-driven change and the instrumentation of technology, data and clinical pathway excellence. His vision for the future of medicine, founded on value-based care, inspires our organization to set new goals, achieve exceptional results and to create new ways of working together for the benefit of those we serve.
Dell Med’s focus on patient outcomes data has resulted in a 25% decrease in utilization of elective surgical procedures and a double digit improvement in the functional status of MSK patients at the first follow-up visit. Furthermore, PRO data for the MSK Institute have shown a 21% improvement in the Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcomes Scores (HOOS) and a 29% improvement in the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Scores (KOOS) as compared to prior patient data.
Dr. Johnston integrated PROs directly into the EMR to allow for true clinical decision support and real-time notification of major patient events. Prior, PRO data had to be manually entered into the EMR, making data analysis a lengthy process. Dr. Johnston empowered the entire organization to collaborate; standardize templates, questions, and data gathering processes; and encouraged physician leadership to adopt clinic workflow practices that best leveraged what the data revealed.
Dr. Johnston’s vision has attracted numerous nationally-recognized leaders to Dell Med who are similarly committed to improving patient outcomes within a data-driven organization. Collaboration between these change agents has resulted in better results as exemplified in a February 26, 2019 NEJM Catalyst piece by Dr. Kevin Bozic, Dell Med’s Chair of Surgery and Perioperative Care and Executive Director of UT Health Austin’s Musculoskeletal (MSK) Institute. The article describes how Dell Med’s focus on patient outcomes data has resulted in a 25% decrease in utilization of elective surgical procedures and a double digit improvement in the functional status of MSK patients at the first follow-up visit. Furthermore, PRO data for the MSK Institute have shown a 21% improvement in the Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcomes Scores (HOOS) and a 29% improvement in the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Scores (KOOS) as compared to prior patient data.
Furthermore, Dr. Johnston was insistent that Dell Med do everything possible to benefit the community and ensure that the collected data are easily shared and disseminated across partner organizations. Dr. Johnston’s focus on patient data liberation allows UT Health Austin physicians to share patient information – PRO data and associated treatment plans – with providers throughout Austin, enabling them to rapidly analyze longitudinal data and provide appropriate care.
About Your Organization
As a new medical school created in partnership with our community and built on the foundation of a top-tier research university, Dell Medical School is redefining the academic health environment.
From our Leading EDGE curriculum to our focus on measurably improving health locally and our bold vision for accelerating research, our team is rethinking everything.