How can we, as a region, come to agreement on a small number of doable things that in combination have the power to drive the triple aim: better health, better health care, and lower cost? As you can imagine, that’s a tall order and reaching consensus on where to concentrate our efforts is a massive undertaking of its own. Yet, we have convened a community process to do just that.
The Health Collaborative is serving in the role of the backbone organization. This means we are convening the community stakeholders, organizing activities that contribute to consensus-making, and helping to provide the information and insights that drive good decision- making. With over a year’s worth of work behind us thus far, we have come to some big conclusions and are in the process of digging deeper into details and strategies.
Big Conclusion #1: Our community ranks in the lowest 10% in most community wellness rankings in part because our rate of chronic disease, such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension is higher than the national average.
Big Conclusion #2: We also have a higher than average rate of people exhibiting one or more health risk behaviors such as smoking, poor diet, and inactive lifestyle.
Big Conclusion #3: If we don’t do something about improving #2 we are not going to be able to use medical resources alone to solve #1. We need to find new ways for individuals and families to have the means, opportunity, and motivation to make choices that lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Big Conclusion #4: The number one socioeconomic determinant of health is low income. People who have incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line are more likely to suffer from poor health. We cannot continue to ignore this disparity. Social change that drives improvements in income will contribute to improvement in health.
Big Conclusion #5: We need to make changes in the way we pay for health care so that services that keep people well are supported, encouraged, and available.
This is Collective Impact on Health. Stay tuned as we develop strategies for health improvement that reflect these conclusions and we work together to bring attention, focus, and impact to drive change.