David Skarda, MD, medical director for Intermountain’s center for value-based surgery, has been named one of this year’s Top 25 Innovators by Modern Healthcare. The list honors innovators from across the country who’ve championed scalable solutions that are reshaping the healthcare industry.

Dr. Skarda was recognized for his efforts to help providers gain a deeper understanding of the total cost of surgical procedures. He partnered with Intermountain-owned analytics company Empiric Health to use artificial intelligence to create new cost metrics for Intermountain and SelectHealth. His metrics have also helped during the COVID-19 outbreak as Intermountain developed protocols for resuming elective procedures.

“My area of innovation interest is in the identification and implementation of opportunities to improve the value, both clinical and financial, of the care we deliver,” Dr. Skarda said. “I look for these opportunities in physician-level variation in practice patterns.”

“While healthcare always looks for ways to transform, 2020 required more nimble, innovative adaptations than ever before,” said Aurora Aguilar, editor of Modern Healthcare. “As communities hunkered down, providers and other industry members quickly found new ways to care for their patients, and they couldn’t be afraid to try something new. This year’s Top 25 Innovators exemplify the best of those transformations. They put quality first and look for ways to improve their work during uncertain times.”

“We’ve had the privilege to work with Dr. Skarda as a leading champion in the development and roll-out of analytics initiatives that improve quality and the affordability of surgery,” said Justin Schaper, chief technology officer of Empiric Health. “He’s more than deserving of this honor and we look forward to continuing to turn insight into action and help make care more affordable for patients.”