The Oxford Value Improvement Programme


Tremendous progress has been made over the last forty years due to the second healthcare revolution, with the first healthcare revolution having been the public health revolution of the nineteenth century. Hip replacement, transplantation, and chemotherapy are examples of the high tech revolution funded by increased investment and, in the last twenty years, optimised by improvements in quality, safety and evidence based decision making. However there are still three outstanding problems which are found in every health service no matter how they are structured and funded: One of these problems is huge and unwarranted variation in access, quality, cost and outcome, and an analysis of unwarranted variation reveals the other two –

  • Overuse, which leads to waste, that is anything that does not add value to the outcome for patients or uses resources that could give greater value if used for another group of patients and often, patient harm, even when the quality of care is high
  • Underuse which leads to failure to prevent the diseases that healthcare can prevent, stroke and vascular dementia in atrial fibrillation for example, and often inequity

In the next decade need and demand will increase by at least 20 % so what can we do to tackle these outstanding problems and meet the growing need and demand?


The first step is to focus on value – on triple value The key transformation is from a focus on the quality of service for the patients treated by the individual institutions in Oxfordshire to improving value for the population as a whole and for every individual in the population with triple aims

  • Increasing personal value by ensuring that we focus on each individual’s problem as well as their diagnosis and ensuring that their values are taken into account in personalised decision making
  • Increasing allocative value by ensuring the optimal distribution of resources not only between different programmes such as the programme for people with cancer and the programme for people with mental health problems but also the population based systems within each programme for example within the respiratory health programme optimising allocation betten the services for people with asthma, those with copd and those wit hsleep apnea
  • Increasing technical value from the way the resources are used for all the people with a particular health need such as back pain, or atrial fibrillation or being at the end of life not only by delivering high quality care efficiently but by relating to all the people in need and minimising bot over use and underuse

Low quality care is low value , but high quality care may be of low value too if it does not add value for the population or the individual. The focus has to be on value


Firstly we need to continue to

1. Prevent disease, disability, dementia and frailty to reduce need
2. Improve outcome by provide only effective, evidence based interventions
3. Improve outcome by increasing quality and safety of process
4. Increase productivity by reducing cost

These measures reduce need and improve efficiency BUT we also need to increase value by

  1. Ensuring that every individual receives high personal value by providing people with full information about the risks and benefits of the intervention being offered and relating that to the problem that bothers them most and their values and preferences
  2. Shifting resource from budgets where there is evidence from unwarranted variation of overuse or lower value to budgets for populations in which there is evidence of underuse and inequity
  3. Ensuring that those people in the population who will derive most value from a service reach that service
  4. Implementing high value innovation funded by reduced spending on lower value interventions
  5. Increasing rates of higher value intervention eg helping a higher proportion of people die well at home funded by reduced spending on lower value care in hospital in that population

The Oxford Value Improvement Programme is focused on developing the systems, culture and skills required for all nine of these key tasks and improving the tenth factor – the morale of the people who deliver the service