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Medical Center Participates in Learning Community to Improve Costs and Outcomes Associated with Total Joint Replacements

One of 32 Organizations to Explore New Methodology to Deliver High-value Care

WORCESTER, MA – UMass Memorial Medical Center (UMMMC) is one of 32 medical centers internationally and the only one in Massachusetts, participating in a new learning community to improve costs and outcomes associated with total joint replacement.

Led by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a leading innovator in health and health care improvement worldwide, the Joint Replacement Learning Community (JRLC) is leveraging the expertise of Harvard Business School (HBS) faculty member Robert Kaplan and HBS Senior Project Leader Derek Haas to spearhead the adoption of new methods that promise to improve health outcomes per dollar spent for knee and hip replacements, the most common condition in the Medicare population. It is predicted that by 2030, the number of primary total knee replacements will increase by 673 percent, to 3.48 million procedures annually, and the number of primary total hip replacements will increase by 174 percent, to 572,000 procedures annually1.

To stay ahead of this changing environment, over the course of 2014 the thirty-two organizations taking part in IHI’s JRLC will measure costs, analyze and review data, set improvement targets and generate improvements to increase value across their joint replacement departments. While focusing on hip and knee replacements, participating organizations will also learn how the methodology can be broadly applied to other procedures and serve as a precursor for bundled payments.

The organizations taking part are focusing on topics such as:

  • What is an accurate way to measure the value of care a provider delivers?
  • How do the costs and outcomes from one organization compare with those from a range of other provider organizations, and what is the most cost-effective way to deliver exceptional outcomes at the lowest cost?
  • What specific changes in the design and delivery of care will allow a provider organization to take out avoidable cost while maintaining or even improving care quality and outcomes?

UMass Memorial Medical Center has been at the forefront of connecting patient satisfaction and value to quality outcomes, having produced research on patients’ emotional health, comfort and pain levels following surgery, and for developing and implementing FORCE-TJR, a nationwide, comprehensive database of total joint replacement surgical and patient-reported outcomes.

“We are excited to be working on such an important project with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, leading experts from the Harvard Business School, and other leading institutions in the field of joint replacements,” said David C. Ayers, MD, the Arthur Pappas Professor and Chair of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Director of the Musculoskeletal Center of Excellence at UMass Memorial Medical Center. “This learning community will only enhance the work we’ve already done on total joint replacement outcomes and patient quality of life at UMass Memorial, where FORCE-TJR is the leading national joint replacement registry reporting patient outcomes.”

About The Institute for Healthcare Improvement

IHI is a leading innovator in health and health care improvement worldwide. For more than 25 years, we have partnered with an ever-growing community of visionaries, leaders, and front-line practitioners around the globe to spark bold, inventive ways to improve the health of individuals and populations. Together, we build the will for change, seek out innovative models of care, and spread proven best practices. When it comes to raising the quality of health for all, IHI sees boundless possibilities and while we see the walls in front of us, we will not rest until we reach the other side. Learn more at

About UMass Memorial Medical Center

UMass Memorial Medical Center is the advanced tertiary care referral center for Central New England. The Medical Center offers a full complement of sophisticated technology and support services necessary to provide the region with specialists renowned for their work in areas such as cardiology, cancer, diabetes and orthopedics. To learn more about UMass Memorial, please visit, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

For media inquiries contact our media relations department; Email or call 508-793-5726. 

1 “A Learning Community to Measure and Improve Costs and Outcomes for Joint Replacements,” Institute for Healthcare Improvement, October 2013.