ICHOM Interviews | ICHOM – International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement

Interviews with ICHOM team members, past & present

Throughout 2018, we’ll be interviewing current and past team members to learn about the impact of ICHOM’s work, how it has influenced them, and their thoughts on the challenges for implementing value-based healthcare going forward. For this round of interviews, we chose to speak with two Standardization team members, one former and one current. The focus on standardization for our very first interview segment aligns with the idea that establishing standardized patient outcomes is the critical first step towards global adoption of a value-based model that optimizes the healthcare experience for all stakeholders – from patients to payers to providers.


Theodore Peng is currently an M.D. Candidate at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. He worked with ICHOM between 2014-15, where he served as a Standardization Associate and was involved in developing 12 Standard Sets. We interviewed Theodore to learn about the impact of ICHOM’s work, how it has influenced him, and his thoughts on the challenges for implementing value-based health care moving forward.


Alethse joined ICHOM in late 2016 and has brought a wealth of experience from her time as an infectious diseases consultant in Latin America and her work on programs that improve the quality and safety of patient care. Recently, she moved to Mexico City to grow ICHOM’s presence in the region and advise on how healthcare systems can practise value-based health care. We interviewed Alethse to learn about the impact of ICHOM’s work, how it has influenced her, and her thoughts on the challenges for implementing value-based health care moving forward.


Q1: What was your role at ICHOM?
While at ICHOM, I served as the Standardization Associate, directly supporting Caleb Stowell (VP of Standardization) as well as the multiple working groups in the creation of 12 Standard Sets. This included identifying PROMs currently being utilized by leading medical organizations, documenting and organizing decisions made during working group calls, and designing ICHOM’s external materials (Flyers, Reference Guides, Presentations). I even helped create digital questionnaires that were released along with our materials to help give organizations a visual idea of how to begin gather outcomes. It was rewarding to be a part of an international team working to make real, tangible change for patients all around the world.

Q2: How has your time at ICHOM influenced your perspective during your medical training and approach to medicine?
My time at ICHOM has convinced me that, in today’s world, a good medical doctor needs more than just knowledge of procedures, medications, and treatments; they also need an understanding of costs, hospital operations, and how different parties (patients, providers, insurance companies) in the healthcare field interact. As a result, I’ve been fortunate to become involved in projects at UCSF that are measuring potential cost savings and patient outcomes from telemedicine initiatives, and presenting these results to insurance companies in order to encourage them to adopt more patient-centric policies.

Q3: How can/are medical schools and residency programs incorporating VBHC and PROMs in their curriculum?
It’s difficult, since medical schools are generally switching towards shorter pre-clinical tracks (1.5 years as opposed to 2 years), so things are constantly being cut from the curriculum. However, it appears that schools are considering adding the option for courses that focus on things like VBHC into the 4th year as electives. I think this would be fantastic as it would give medical students an introduction to these topics before they began residency. At the same time, I’ve observed that more and more medical students are pursuing business degrees – I feel that the formation of more ties between medical schools and business schools is going to really create new types of physicians in the future.

Q4: What developments on the horizon in PROMs you most excited about?
Being in Silicon Valley, it’s very exciting to see how new tech startups are trying to directly integrate their new tools into the electronic medical records at hospitals! They are coming up with new ways to gather PROs that can be directly utilized by providers in a timely fashion.


Q1: What made you want to join the ICHOM team?
To date my career has been centred on my passion, enthusiasm and commitment to patient safety and healthcare quality improvement. I connected very well with ICHOM’s aim that one day all patients, regardless of their location, economic or social background can receive a patient-centred, safe and high-quality healthcare with resources being used in the most efficient way. Before joining ICHOM, I had experienced first-hand how important it is to have data and health outcomes that are not only accurate but also actionable in order to improve clinical practice as well as for the allocation of resources and evaluation of healthcare policies. Thus, the first time I read about ICHOM and its mission I couldn’t believe that there was an organisation with such an innovative and straight forward way to transform healthcare systems across the globe. I was impressed by its traction and the engaged global community that I believe is the driver of our work. I knew I had found something special, and it made complete sense that only by working as an international community towards value-based healthcare could we learn faster, improve patient outcomes and provide the evidence of how to allocate resources without losing the aim of keeping patients and their families at the centre of the healthcare systems. It was clear that joining ICHOM was a great step to take.

Q2: What is your role at ICHOM?
My current role at ICHOM is Director of Standardisation and Latin America. Recently, I have had the fantastic opportunity of moving back to Mexico City, Mexico with the aim of establishing a local presence and helping the region in their strategies to transition into value-based healthcare. This is an extremely exciting proposition. Having had the opportunity of collaborating with stakeholders from different countries in the region I truly believe that the Latin American and Caribbean region has an extraordinary potential due to its people and stakeholders – including clinical leaders and patient advocates – as well as the cultural links that hold the region as a strong, innovative community committed to improve their healthcare systems. In my opinion the Latin American and Caribbean region has the potential to leapfrog other regions.

Q3: How have you seen your efforts at ICHOM being translated into the world of health care?
One of the most rewarding experiences of my time at ICHOM has been seeing the passion of our Working Group members when creating our Standard Sets. Their interest in and commitment to developing the Standard Sets has been a pleasure to be part of and I look forward to working with hospitals in Latin America to implement further Standard Sets in the future. I enjoy witnessing how providers that are joining and using the Sets are creating global communities with the aim of improving their outcomes. I love to see how patient advocacy groups are getting stronger and working together with clinical and registry leads in different regions; demonstrating how by putting the patient in the centre of their care as the core element we can take healthcare forward globally.

Q4: What are some of the biggest challenges in regards to standardization that ICHOM is working to overcome and/or address?
One of the main challenges is to find the balance of developing Standard Sets that are comprehensive and yet pragmatic to be used in routine clinical practice in high, middle and low-income settings and to produce data that is accurate and actionable and that can be comparable globally and allows risk-adjustment of outcomes to draw meaningful conclusions. It is not rare to realise that we need to have more data about the validity and reliability of PROMs and their usage in settings with different resources as well as in diverse language and cultural backgrounds – however, I believe that ICHOM can contribute as well here by bringing the communities together if we really want to have information that is comparable across the globe.

Q5: What developments on the horizon in standardization / VBHC are you most excited about?
I am excited about the work that the ICHOM team is doing in order to harmonise and update the Standard Sets based on the lessons learnt from the implementation and benchmarking phases. I believe in continuous improvement and the idea of maintaining our work as a high-quality product based on real world data as well as the latest academic and research developments is extremely exciting as an opportunity to learn from each of the ICHOM team members and the global community.

One day I would love to see that VBHC is truly embedded in all healthcare systems across the globe. I would be proud to see that ICHOM’s strategic agenda is helping to promote continuous improvement, in understanding how to allocate resources in a more efficient way, to shaping public health policies and that all the efforts of the global community are translated into better outcomes for patients. It is always rewarding to help empower people to have a significant participation in their healthcare so that they can choose based on the outcomes that really matter to them.

We will be interviewing current and past team members throughout 2018. Keep an eye out for the next interview in the coming months!