Health Matters Spring 2019 - Page 4

Improving citizens’ overall health n 2016, Archbold Medical Center established a collaborative of key community leaders and partners focused on improving the overall health of the citizens of Thomas County, Geor- gia. Three years later, the collaborative is hit- ting its stride and building on early successes. I In The Beginning Live Better was formed as part of a challenge by Archbold Medical Center President and CEO Perry Mustian for Archbold to do even more to improve com- munity health. Archbold has always had some form of clinical outreach, most often offered in the form of early identification efforts such as free screenings, prevention efforts such as branded Health Talks, or interventional education like breastfeeding or smoking cessation class- es. While those efforts have had positive impact on indi- viduals from time to time, Mustian’s challenge was to re- ally move the needle on the overall health of the com- munity and the major prevalent diseases that exist. “We began to research current population health lit- erature and what other hospitals were doing, which in- cluded an American Hospital Association publication that listed some of the hospitals with noteworthy efforts and apparent best practices,” said Mark Lowe, Vice President of Planning and Marketing at Archbold. “There was a common theme with several of the hospi- tals—they had reached out to leaders in key segments of the community to figure out a way to work together to improve the health of their communities. Most often, a hospital would partner with a municipality, or a school, or a large business in some way. That’s really when the Live Better concept started to form. We decided that making an effort to change the environment we live in was really going to be a key to actually making a differ- ence.” 4 Health Matters “We thought: What if we found not just one large partner in the effort, but several key partners to form an alliance? We thought that if we leveraged the strengths of each entity on board, we stood a much better chance of improving health than if the hospital tried to do it alone. And so, we formed an advisory board of chief decision-makers that would represent each of the major sectors of our community: local government, education, business and the media.” Accountability “One way we create legitimacy and accountability in every aspect of the program is to create measurable goals,” said Todd Bennett, Archbold’s Clinical Outreach Manager. “Creating separate goals for adults and chil- dren — especially younger students — is necessary, giv- en that it takes different approaches to find success for different groups.” Lowe added, “As a group, we decided not to focus on epidemiological data — self reported, smaller sample size — as we can’t measure our efforts until years later, negating any opportunity to quickly adjust our strate- gies and tactics if we see indicators of unsuccessful ap- proaches. Instead, we measure goal progress using near real-time data.” “For our adults, we use data from a large primary care practice as well as a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center to ensure we included input from a practice that primarily focused on the underserved. Between the two practices, we were able to capture BMI data for approxi- mately 7,500 patients. For children, we continue to focus moving K-5 students into their respective school’s Healthy Fitness Zones.” Please see LIVE, page 8