Reducing costs and waistlines

At his annual State of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) address, Wright Caughman, executive vice president for health affairs, delivered some good news and some bad. The good: WHSC is succeeding in its goal to increase efficiency and effectiveness and reduce expenses, and cost-savings ideas have poured in from more than 700 faculty, staff, and students. The Emory Healthcare Value Acceleration Team, for example, has targeted cost reductions of more than $200 million during the next five years, and the School of Medicine ExCEL Team has identified innovative approaches to save more than $84,000 in capital and operating costs. Now for the bad: biometric screenings of 3,700 Emory employees show that 59 percent are overweight, 40 percent have high blood pressure, and 85 percent don't eat enough fruits and veggies. Caughman took his audience to task: "If we are to lead in discovery, education, and care delivery all aimed at making people healthy, are we walking the talk?" he asked.