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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

New community health approach aims to combats chronic disease, empower patients, reduces costs

From the 8 February 2012 Eureka News Alert

New community health approach aims to combats chronic disease, empower patients, reduces costs

Value of Accountable Care Community approach to public health promotion and disease prevention outlined in new paper released today

AKRON, Ohio, February 8, 2012 – A new community-wide collaboration to reduce the impact of chronic disease and empower patients is generating impressive early results, leaders of the Accountable Care Community (ACC) initiative said today. The Akron-based Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) is leading the initiative with its founding institutional members and more than 60 public and private community partners.

The groundbreaking effort supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unites medical, public health and social science professions, nonprofits and faith-based and community organizations for an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to public health. Eventually, communities across the country will be able to apply this new model toward public health, reducing the tremendous negative impact chronic disease has on their economies, said Dr. Janine Janosky, head of ABIA’s Center for Community Health Improvement, who is leading the effort described in a white paper released today.

The news comes just weeks after an Institute of Medicine report called for a new public health approach based on “enhanced collaboration among the public health, health care and community non-healthcare sectors” to address the challenges of chronic disease. The World Health Organization refers to the growing impact of chronic disease as “a global epidemic” reaching crisis levels. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that by 2030, half the U.S. population will have at least one chronic condition.

The ABIA, along with national experts and more than 60 Akron organizations, have been collaborating for more than a year on a new, integrated, and measurable strategy to community health that could be replicated in other U.S. communities. The ACC approach detailed in the report “Healthier by Design: Accountable Care Community” utilizes a unique “impact equation” that measures the benefits of a seamless approach to community health, including metrics for a patient empowerment and market value of health, said Dr. Frank L. Douglas, ABIA president and chief executive officer.

“The amount spent on healthcare and health initiatives in the United States should translate into good health for the community and its residents. Unfortunately, America’s public health continues to lag behind other nations. Further, we are now in an era of debate about how to reverse the unsustainable cost trends and improve the health outcomes and quality of life for our fellow man,” Dr. Douglas said. “The development of this inventive Accountable Care Community model, which not only speaks of the need for collaboration but actually enables all parties to be on the same page with an integrated, measurable strategy, promises to improve the health of millions of patients.”

In Akron, the ACC approach uniquely aligns public, private and philanthropic resources in a coordinated fight to improve community health by identifying and closing gaps in health education, access and delivery. The group’s initial pilot project focused on diabetes self-management. Ultimately, participants changed their behaviors and took increased control over their disease. Significant results included decreases in blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels, weight loss, decreased body mass, and a decline in emergency room visits. An additional program demonstrated nearly a total of $225,000 of cost savings or cost avoidance for local healthcare institutions through the use of volunteers and community services to monitor and serve low-income, medically underserved patients with diabetes….

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February 9, 2012 - Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , ,

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