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Positively Impacting the Health of a Community

Mother with Sons

As a community physician and a staff member at HealthInsight, I believe I am uniquely positioned to positively impact the health of my community. On a daily basis I am working with improvement teams to advance data transparency, community and consumer engagement, and quality processes that lead to best outcomes for patients.

Over the last 18 months, I have been honored to participate in the Institute for Healthcare improvement (IHI) 100 Million Lives initiative. This initiative is an unprecedented collaboration of change agents across sectors who are pursuing an unrivaled result toward better health. In my role, I represent the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), and the Collaborative Health Network in coaching a vanguard of teams bringing the 100 Million Lives initiative to their communities.

Our mission is to see 100 million people living healthier lives by 2020 and to measure health through what matters to people. The 100 Million Lives initiative asks "Whose life is getting better because we are here?" and looks at physical health, mental health, social well-being, spiritual well-being, life expectancy, and health equity. The initiative promotes sustainable change by asking us to develop financing and workforces that allow for long-term impact. As part of this effort, the initiative has intentionally crafted a survey of health and well-being that is being considered by organizations as large as the Veterans Healthcare System, as a metric for success in improving the entirety of a person's health. The survey's seven questions can provide real-time data about a program's impact. For details about the survey, contact IHI at 100MLives@ihi.org.

What have I seen in my participation to date? Here are two examples: Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, Michigan is developing a sustainable financing model that will integrate the resources needed to care for at-risk youth such as health care services, behavioral health care and educational investment. This pool of resources can serve the youth and their families in the most appropriate and efficient ways possible. Henry Ford Allegiance Health is developing a system to coordinate a network of care around families of youth and will reinvest any savings into wellness and prevention services and maintain those resources in the community for families right in Jackson.

In Weld County, Colorado, the North Colorado Health Alliance has an amazing community dashboard that asks United Way funded organizations to contribute their data on health and well-being for all to see. They are asking day cares, schools, sports organizations, workplaces and health care centers to change their internal policies to reduce the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages. In another effort, they have aligned police, fire, ambulance, health care, behavioral health care, Medicaid services the judicial system, and physical health care services to collaborate on caring for community members with the highest use of emergency services. New ways of collaborating have come from their initiative and they are committed to reducing unnecessary emergency calls by intervening with what really is needed.

The 100 Million Lives Campaign is an opportunity to be a part of something big, to commit to looking at "who is not thriving" and committing to collaborative, data-driven action to improve all aspects of health. I invite you to take a look around your community, join and be a part of this movement.

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