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Why Spectrum Health won award for community health


Here’s a look at Spectrum Health’s Healthier Communities Department. It has five sections: its School Health Program; its Partnership Health Care Programs, which provide free or discounted medical care to vulnerable local urban populations;  its Community Partnership Programs for Healthy Food; its Community Partnership Programs to Create Healthy Lifestyles, and its Core Health, a chronic-disease management program for at-risk area residents.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit, integrated, managed care  organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich. Spectrum  subsidiaries include hospitals, treatment facilities, urgent-care facilities, as well as physician practices.

In recognition of Healthier Communities’ two decades of outreach services for underserved Western Michigan residents, Spectrum Health was awarded the 2016 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. As the 31st recipient of the prize, sponsored by the Baxter International Foundation, the American Hospital Association and its nonprofit affiliate, the Health Research & Educational Trust,  Spectrum will get $100,000 to expand on its community health efforts.

“Since 1997, Spectrum Health’s Healthier Communities has built the infrastructure, resources, community-based programs and services to reach the people who need care the most,” says John O’Brien, chairman of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee. “Through impactful alliances with community organizations, Spectrum Health has shown incredible perseverance, patience and a vision to dramatically improve the health of individuals in their community and reduce health care costs.”

Healthier Communities started 20 years ago with a focus on reducing infant mortality and disparities in maternal-infant health; improving children’s health, and preventing and managing chronic disease among those living in its 13-county service area. Spectrum Health spends $6.8 million each year in the department.

To read more, please hit this link.



For these patients, look beyond big data

Big data has its limits in predicting how patients with chronic conditions will need and use healthcare, says this HealthAffairs blog post. The authors say more focus should be put on understanding patient-reported information.

They conclude:

“By asking patients about their ability to manage chronic disease, we stand a better chance of identifying which patients are most in need of additional services. Patient-reported outcome measure instruments have been costly to administer, but this will be less of an issue as we transition to electronic health records and more routinely capture patient-reported measures in daily practice. Going forward, we need to determine how patient-reported data can best contribute to prediction tools and to design and validate instruments that can reliably connect patient data to actionable outcomes.

“Provider intuition and patient self-knowledge are valuable additions to the data bytes collected from medical claims and clinical information systems. Today, capturing and applying this information is largely an art. Going forward, analytics will need to adapt so that this valuable but nuanced information can more readily and effectively blend with clinical and financial data, allowing provider organizations to better care for the highest risk patients.”

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