Cincinnati is One Step Closer to a Culture of Health

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”33397″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Back in the fall of 2016, our community came together to tell a story of collaboration, action, and results. Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky haven’t always been known for having the best health outcomes, and we have often lagged behind other regions in terms of eating healthfully, living actively, and finding healthy ways to cope with stress. However, awareness is growing, and community organizations and healthcare providers alike are doing more to address and prevent upstream causes of poor health.

In order to share our story and gain insights from the successes of other communities, The Health Collaborative has partnered with the City of Cincinnati Health Department to submit an application for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Prize.

The Culture of Health prize recognizes US communities for their accomplishments in catalyzing and sustaining positive changes across systems and policies; harnessing the collective power of community leaders and residents; efficiently and effectively sharing resources; and collectively measuring and monitoring progress toward better health. There are three distinct phases of the application process: Phase I Application, Phase II Application, and Phase III Site Visits with Finalist Communities. Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, as a region, are fortunate to be chosen along with 31 applicant communities, out of a pool of 210, to move beyond Phase I into Phase II (announced earlier this month).[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The application encompasses a seven-county region in Southwestern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. As community highlights were gathered for the application it was inspiring to see all that is being done in our region, by so many organizations, to engage residents in making health a value we share. More than 20 programs, initiatives, and strategies were highlighted in the November 2016 Phase I application, with more detail and support provided in the Phase II essay. We want to share just a handful of these achievements here in order to celebrate and bring more attention to the Culture of Health that’s currently emerging here in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region, regardless of whether we are chosen for the prize.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Click on a topic below to learn more:[/vc_column_text][mk_toggle title=”Gen-H” icon=”mk-li-target” icon_color=”#eb7625″]Gen-H is a collective impact on health initiative encompassing a seven-county region of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Nearly 100 community leaders across multiple sectors have committed to a goal of 70% of adults in the region reporting excellent or very good health, and 95% reporting access to a usual and appropriate source of care. Since the community-wide launch of Gen-H in April 2016, cross-sector efforts are occurring across the region to promote healthy behaviors, improve care delivery, and address finance & payment, with equity identified as an area of focus for all goals.[/mk_toggle][mk_toggle title=”Health in All Policies resolution” icon=”mk-flaticon-document58″ icon_color=”#eb7625″]In the fall of 2016, the Cincinnati City Council unanimously approved the adoption of a “Health in all Policies” (HiAP) resolution. As a result of this historic vote, city departments will be receiving orientations to the principles and the framework of HiAP and work will begin to align the framework to departmental practices. This new commitment to expanding the definition of health at the city government level is expected to be a major step toward redistributing resources for a positive impact on health within the city. Other jurisdictions will be encouraged to follow suit.[/mk_toggle][mk_toggle title=”Health Impact Assessments” icon=”mk-flaticon-magnification3″ icon_color=”#eb7625″]Work has been ongoing at the City Health Department to objectively assess the health impacts of projects or initiatives that are outside the traditional lens of health. These include land use, transportation, housing, and economic stability. The Health Impact Assessment includes a focus on health factors such as physical inactivity, injuries, chronic disease, mental health, and social wellness & equity.[/mk_toggle][mk_toggle title=”Education and Employment” icon=”mk-flaticon-compass39″ icon_color=”#eb7625″]In November 2016, voters approved the Preschool Promise, granting every child access to a quality preschool education to improve kindergarten readiness, a recognized indicator of reading success. We think this is a win for health in the broadest sense.

Understanding that sustainable employment and financial independence are key elements of good health, our corporate community has partnered with local, state, and national sources to fund services to assist over 9,100 individuals across four career pathway partnerships. Of that total, 81% completed training, earning over 9,100 credentials, and 80% obtained employment, with 69% retaining employment after 12 months.[/mk_toggle][mk_toggle title=”Green Umbrella” icon=”mk-flaticon-umbrella14″ icon_color=”#eb7625″]Our regional environmental collaborative Green Umbrella has been working to connect populations to destinations by increasing pedestrian and bike friendly routes. They have been successful in increasing federal and local funding for these efforts to $191 million, up from just $2 million in the previous regional planning cycle. This opportunity to shift away from vehicle-centric communities will create new opportunities for transportation to catalyze active lives. Green Umbrella also has initiatives focused on local food production, waterways, and the preservation of green space.[/mk_toggle][mk_toggle title=”Interact for Health” icon=”mk-flaticon-fire13″ icon_color=”#eb7625″]Interact for Health is a foundation dedicated to funding upstream initiatives for improving the health of people in the community. The foundation supports education, programs, and policy advocacy and has awarded over 300 grants, investing more than $111 million across the region. The majority of their grants fund healthy eating, active living, mental and emotional well-being, and healthy choices about substance abuse. The grant-making process favors under-resourced neighborhoods and resident-led approaches.[/mk_toggle][mk_toggle title=”Center for Great Neighborhoods” icon=”mk-flaticon-molecular” icon_color=”#eb7625″]In Covington, the Center for Great Neighborhoods has been a catalyst for healthy growth in Northern Kentucky. The Center redeveloped an abandoned lumber mill into a community building co-locating social service and health programs with local artists, thus harnessing the synergistic power of creative place-making. Accomplishments to date include the Center’s successful pilot of its Healthy Corner Store program in 2016, which worked with three local stores to increase access to fruits and vegetables in underserved neighborhoods in Covington. The Center also seeded backyard gardens by providing 64 families with all resources needed to start their own produce garden. A three-day Healthy Mind and Body camp for youth focused on the benefits of good mental health, nutritious eating, and being physically active. The Center also provides creative community grants to artists implementing creative solutions to community-identified topics, with 2016 projects focused on inclusion and health.[/mk_toggle][mk_toggle title=”Lincoln Heights and Madisonville” icon=”mk-flaticon-home62″ icon_color=”#eb7625″]The Lincoln Heights Village Council has adopted a social health pathway resolution, which focuses on economic stability, education, social and community context, health and healthcare, and the built environment. Accomplishments to date include a variety of new active living facilities, including two new playgrounds and two walking trails; engagement with the faith community to adopt wellness programs and tobacco free campuses; agreements with two churches to open their recreation facilities to the public; and engaging child care centers in an evidence-based physical activity and nutrition curriculum. Additionally, to address the lack of a full service grocery in the village, a corner market committed to selling produce and became an approved SNAP vendor. Meanwhile, a community garden initiative is growing strong.

In Madisonville, residents prioritized two risk factors for neighborhood decline.  Their neighborhood school, a local hub for engagement, was at risk for closing due to low enrollment. Additionally, the community was a food desert. Working with school officials, the residents helped inform improvements needed at the school to attract new families. They followed that with outreach in the community to encourage families to enroll their children rather than use vouchers to access schools outside the community. They addressed their food access issue with a goal to plant 500 community and backyard gardens. By the summer of 2016, the count was up to nearly 700 gardens with produce being traded and shared across the community. This renewed attention to health led to a very popular “yoga in the park” program, and neighbors are working with transportation planning organizations to expand a trail that would connect Madisonville to a major bike route.[/mk_toggle][mk_toggle title=”First Ladies Health Initiative” icon=”mk-li-star Character Code:e611″ icon_color=”#eb7625″]The wife of the Mayor of Cincinnati, First Lady Dena Cranley, helped to organize pastors’ wives (First Ladies) in nearly 40 African-American congregations for a Cincinnati chapter of the First Ladies Health Initiative. The women saw tremendous potential in working together to share ideas, resources and work together on common issues. Now the First Ladies are leveraging their considerable influence to empower their congregations and communities to make smart decisions regarding their health.

One area of focus is services to expectant mothers to emphasize the benefits of regular prenatal care and healthy lifestyle habits. Area churches have also held annual Health Day Celebrations. The First Ladies each select the health services they would like to have available at their churches and recruit medical volunteers. Services may include HIV, diabetes, hypertension, lung disease, and asthma screenings, as well as flu shots, breast exams, prostate exams, dental vouchers, vision testing, and behavioral health assessments.

In 2016, this initiative attracted more than 3,000 adults and children in 22 locations. Where health issues were identified, patients were counseled and offered the opportunity to book an appointment during the consultation if they did not have a usual source of care. 800 volunteers donated their time to reduce health disparities and improve the well-being of their congregations.  The over 40 community partners included local health systems, several large employers, the American Cancer Society, and the American Lung Association, to name just a few.[/mk_toggle][mk_toggle title=”The Greater Cincinnati Foundation” icon=”mk-flaticon-big81″ icon_color=”#eb7625″]The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has convened a community of practice that brings together organizations using the collective impact model to address health, economic development, environmental issues, empowerment for women, workforce development, and the arts. This partnership helps forge cross-sector partnerships and break down silos.

One of the partners, our Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) office through its Place Matters initiative, has invested in capacity-building in key neighborhoods to support resident leadership. Residents have identified neighborhood priorities including barriers to health and vitality. From this invaluable foundation, active and engaged neighbors are able to approach community leadership with their own vision and a sense of empowerment.  The community of practice is able to respond with connections and access to resources and investments that bring that vision to life. In the Madisonville example above, elements of transportation, food access, education, and community activation came together to overcome threats to neighborhood vitality. It’s an example of how neighborhood capacity building is crossing sectors and expanding the definition of health and well-being.[/mk_toggle][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][vc_column_text]Through these and countless other ways, Greater Cincinnati is making health a value we share – and for that reason, we believe we are worthy of recognition for our culture of health. Stay tuned for updates as we move through the RWJF application process and continue to tell our community story. We will receive word in early March on whether we have been selected for Phase III site visits.

Click below to view the video that was developed to accompany our Phase II application:

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Got a community story to share?

Leave a comment below or visit the Gen-H website to share YOUR story!


THC Hosts Hoxworth Blood Drive at New Location

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]The Health Collaborative (THC) team together with our new neighbors at 615 Elsinore rolled up their sleeves on Thursday to donate blood.

For the past seven years, THC has partnered with Hoxworth Blood Center to support and celebrate blood drive coordinators and donation centers of excellence at the annual Hoxworth Awards ceremony and most recently with the Inspire Healthcare Awards. This year, THC staff wanted to do more to promote the importance of regional blood donation. So, we organized our first onsite blood drive.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”33310″ img_size=”250×150″ alignment=”center” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In just a few short hours on January 19, 2017, Hoxworth collected 24 units (including one platelet donor) from our building, which will potentially save up to 72 lives. Fifteen of these units were donated by THC staff.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Blood donation is critical toward maintaining an adequate blood supply for good patient care in hospital and trauma care settings. Red blood cells transport oxygen to the body’s tissues and are transfused to address a variety of issues, such as anemia resulting from kidney failure, chemotherapy regimens, gastrointestinal bleeding, or blood loss due to trauma or surgery.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”33309″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]According to the University of Cincinnati’s Hoxworth Blood Center, 300 blood donors and 25 platelet donors are needed every day to help save lives in the Greater Cincinnati region. In order to meet the demand of the 31 area hospitals it serves, Hoxworth works with donors of all blood types and walks of life to ensure an adequate blood and blood component supply.

Kate Haralson, Quality Improvement Manager at THC and staff coordinator of the drive, shared her thoughts on the significance of the drive: “At The Health Collaborative, we talk a lot about supporting community and promoting healthy behaviors. I think it’s important we walk the walk.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Cara Nicholas, Assistant Public Information Officer at Hoxworth, said blood drives are particularly critical in the winter. “This time of year, we typically experience a decrease in blood donations,” she said. “January and other winter months are a challenging time for us, as adverse weather conditions, flu season, and busy post-holiday schedules can interfere with normal collection operations. The need for blood never stops—we still have to collect 300 units of red cells and 25 units of platelets a day to meet the demand of the 31 hospitals we serve in the tristate area. Donors can get busy with work, holidays, etc. but patients never get to ‘take a break’ from their illnesses, and we need to have blood on the shelf for them.”

There are several donation options available for donors to choose from: they can give whole blood, which is then taken to a lab for separation into red blood cells, plasma, or platelets; or they can opt for an automated procedure in which a machine separates the components at the point of donation and collects only what is desired. For example, in a platelet donation, the machine collects platelets while returning the red cells and most of the plasma back to the donor. This can result in one or several transfusable units, while it takes about four to six whole blood donations to constitute a single transfusable unit of platelets.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Platelet transfusions (necessary for clotting) are an element of cancer and organ transplant treatments, and demand is growing. Many surgical procedures depend on platelets as they help prevent massive blood loss. Platelet donation takes a little longer than a whole blood donation, but uses a smaller needle.

One platelet donor, Kelly Aardema, Quality Improvement Coordinator, said her experience was positive. “I can’t think of an easier or more valuable act of service and I strongly encourage others to consider donating platelets, especially after learning that they must be used within five days of donation, so new donors are needed every day,” she said.

THC staff donated nourishing snacks and kept donors comfortable during their time in the chair. As Haralson remarked to staff, “This is such a huge gift to our community, giving of our time and ourselves, and contributes directly to our member hospitals and work with Hoxworth.” Plans are in the works to make the blood drive an annual event at THC.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”33338″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hoxworth’s Cara Nicholas said this is a particularly great time to get involved. “We rely on the generosity of our volunteer blood donors to provide area patients with lifesaving blood products. January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, and we’ve been asking all eligible donors to make a donation and help us maintain a stable blood supply during these winter months. We are extremely grateful for every single donor who takes the time to roll up their sleeve and save a life.”

For more information on how to become a donor or volunteer with Hoxworth, please visit [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Expedited Records Process Developed for Regional County Coroners

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Access to electronic medical records is critical to gaining a complete understanding of a patient’s medical history, even after they have passed. And while Ohio law states that “…[A] coroner, deputy coroner, or representative… may request, in writing, to inspect and receive a copy of [a] deceased person’s medical and psychiatric records,” the process for requesting and obtaining medical records has proven to be onerous and burdensome for local coroner’s offices.

The records, often only available as physical paper files, need to be copied and transported to the coroner’s office which can be expensive and time-consuming, while also potentially leading to problems such as loss and human error. In addition, coroner’s offices may make several records requests to multiple hospitals and systems each day, sometimes resulting in duplicative transport costs and producing more chances for error each time a request is made.

Andrea Hatten, Chief Administrator for the Hamilton County Coroner, describes this process as particularly time-intensive.

“The former process by which we requested and received medical records was very arduous, time consuming, and not least of all, environmentally unfriendly,” Hatten observed. “Our investigative staff would spend time driving around the county to retrieve medical records only to return to the office with volumes of paper that would need to be reviewed page by page.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]That’s where The Health Collaborative (THC) and Epic software come in, with a technology solution specifically tailored to address the inefficiency and risks of the current process and provide a sustainable solution.

Epic is an Electronic Health Record (EHR) software system used by the six largest of Greater Cincinnati’s regional hospital systems and many of their employed physician practices, as well as a few independent healthcare providers. The Health Collaborative’s Regional Epic Services provide a platform of programs that allow hospitals across Greater Cincinnati & Dayton to work together to optimize the use of Epic regionally. The partnership enables these organizations to analyze Epic-enabled clinical and business processes, address deficiencies and define efficiencies, establish community standards and strategies, and implement them across systems. Members gather periodically to exchange best practices and provide education through user group meetings and workshops.

For this project, THC worked with providers to design a process to allow coroner’s offices access to specific patient records. With special programming, the newly-implemented system now allows approved and trained personnel from local coroner’s offices to access deceased patients’ electronic medical records through special access to only that segment of the Epic record. These are the same patient records that were previously provided, most often, as a printed paper record.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][mk_blockquote align=”center”]

“This process is a great example of working smarter and not harder, and with an ever-increasing caseload, that is exactly what we needed.”

– Andrea Hatten,

Chief Administrator

Hamilton County Coroner

[/mk_blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hatten says The Health Collaborative helped facilitate this needed change, supporting regional efforts from start to finish.

The guidance and support from The Health Collaborative made this all possible. Susan White [Director, Regional Epic Services,] provided contact information to me for the various hospitals, prefaced my communications with those very contacts and then followed up with me on many occasions to check the progress of my communications,” Hatten said. These services were also provided to the Butler County Coroner’s Office, with similar reports of satisfaction as a result.

In some cases custom solutions needed to be developed in order to meet the needs of both hospital systems and coroner staff. For one hospital in particular, the solution was to ensure that each coroner’s workstation meets Epic hardware standards and to have software installed that allows access to the so-called Epic Production System. When a coroner user logs in, they are automatically directed to the “In Basket” (Epic’s internal email) screen. While they are not able to navigate freely within Epic, they can access assigned patient records through a link contained in an In Basket message. These patient links are assigned to them by medical records personnel or selected floor nurses at the patient’s point of care.

In addition to efficiency, safety protocols have been implemented to ensure security and appropriate access to a given decedent’s records, such as a 30-day access expiration on each assigned patient account, and using demographic patient identifiers to access the record.

The results of these changes are far-reaching for both coroner’s offices and healthcare providers at hospitals.

Hatten continued, “This new process allows us to electronically access the exact records we need, secure them electronically, and then refocus our efforts on the other facets of death investigation. Simply put, we are more efficient with our time and resources. This process is a great example of working smarter and not harder, and with an ever-increasing caseload, that is exactly what we needed.”

It’s one more way The Health Collaborative is helping to make the healthcare Triple Aim of healthier people, better care, and lower costs a reality for all in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]