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University of Utah Health Selected for Nationwide Collaborative to Accelerate System-Wide Spread of Age-Friendly Care for Older Adults

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Kylene Metzger
Media Relations Manager, Public Affairs, University of Utah Health

University of Utah Health is proud to announce its selection for participation in the Age-Friendly System-Wide Spread Collaborative. This first-of-its-kind Collaborative, led by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), has selected 30 U.S. health systems that will accelerate and spread adoption of evidence-based, high-quality care for older adults across all of their sites and care settings. The Collaborative is the latest endeavor of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, which promotes four evidence-based elements of high-quality care known as the 4Ms: What Matters, Medication, Mentation, and Mobility.

University of Utah Health earned the initiative’s Committed to Care Excellence designation in 2021 after demonstrating reliable practice of the 4Ms in four sites of care on the university campus. Now, during the 18-month Collaborative, University of Utah Health will leverage strengths including its Center on Aging, led by Executive Director Mark Supiano, MD, and the leadership of Timothy Farrell, MD, Associate Chief for Age-Friendly Care in the Division of Geriatrics, to test changes to ensure that the 4Ms are provided equitably as a standard practice as older adults receive care across its entire system. All participating teams in the Collaborative will learn from each other and expert faculty and be among the first health systems to achieve an ambitious new IHI recognition for system-wide spread of age-friendly care.

“Our participation in the Collaborative marks a pivotal moment in our journey toward age-friendly care,” said Gina Hawley, DrPH, Chief Operating Officer for University of Utah Health Hospitals & Clinics. Erica Bisson, MD, Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah, added that, “This designation not only demonstrates our ongoing dedication to prioritizing the needs of older adults but also positions us as leaders in the field of geriatric health care.”

University of Utah Health's involvement in the Collaborative builds upon its previous achievements in age-friendly care. Having attained Level 1 (Participant) status in June 2019 and Level 2 (Committed to Care Excellence) status in November 2021, the institution is now on the cusp of achieving a new Level 3 status from IHI. This milestone underscores University of Utah Health's dedication to continuous improvement and innovation in geriatric care.

Furthermore, the University of Utah stands out as one of only 11 universities nationwide to hold both Age-Friendly University (AFU) and Age-Friendly Health System Level 2 recognitions. Additionally, it is one of only two universities to possess Age-Friendly Level 2 designation, AFU status, and secure a spot in the Age-Friendly System-Wide Spread Collaborative.

“We are honored to have University of Utah Health participating in this Collaborative and applaud their dedication to equitably delivering age-friendly care as older adults and their family caregivers receive care across their practices, hospitals, and affiliated nursing homes,” said Leslie Pelton, MPA, Vice President, IHI. “This is an exciting and ambitious endeavor and a testament to the increasing importance of the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement as we prepare our health systems and workforce to provide excellent care to the growing older adult population.”

Since 2018, the movement has recognized 3,907 care settings as Age-Friendly, benefiting 3.29 million older adults who have received age-friendly care centered around what matters to them and their families. Age-Friendly Health Systems is an initiative of The John A. Hartford Foundation and IHI, in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA).