WDA, WCHQ Formalize Collaboration
The WCHQ and the Wisconsin Dental Association are both committed to improving the health of the people living in our state. The WCHQ’s advocacy and education efforts complement the WCHQ Oral Health Collaborative’s goal of integrating medical and dental care by creating opportunities for members to share information.
WCHQ and WDA recently agreed to a more formal approach to the relationship. Both organizations committed to collaborating on education events that help bridge the gap between the medical and dental communities and lead to better, more holistic patient care. WDA will participate in and present at the annual WCHQ Oral Health Summit and attend WCHQ’s monthly Oral Health Collaborative meetings.
Through the agreement, WCHQ will be able to submit professional papers for consideration to publish in the WCHQ Journal and attend appropriate meetings and education events sponsored by the WDA.
“WCHQ and WDA are both committed to improving the health of the people in Wisconsin. We cannot improve medical care without considering a patient’s oral health history,” according to WCHQ President and CEO Gabrielle Rude, PhD. “By increasing our opportunities to collaborate with WDA, we learn more about the dental environment and can incorporate that perspective into our work at WCHQ.”
Jeremy Hoffman, DDS, a WDA Trustee from Weston, will represent the group on the WCHQ Oral Health Collaborative. Dr. Hoffman will bring his experience and knowledge of organized dentistry to the group and act as a liaison between WDA and WCHQ.
Chronic Kidney Disease Advisory Group
One of the best ways to stop the progression of kidney disease is to identify it early. As a disease that often has no symptoms, many patients do not learn they have kidney disease until they are in a late stage of the disease.
The newest WCHQ improvement team is focused on early identification and treatment of patients who have kidney damage. At its inaugural meeting March 29, members of the Chronic Kidney Disease Advisory Group heard from Dr. Vesta Valuckaite, MD, health systems medical director at Bayer and Tricia Barrett, executive director of quality and population health strategy at Bayer. Both presenters emphasized the importance of early and reliable testing of patients who are diabetic. New measures have been developed that call for running both eGFR and UARC. Not all health systems are currently running both tests, but to meet the measure, both are required. Studies have shown that people with diabetes and macroalbuminuria are 19 times more likely to see a rapid decline in renal function compared with those without albuminuria.
The members of the Advisory Group have diverse backgrounds but a common desire to improve the care for those with CKD. To join the Advisory Group, contact Sheryl Pierce.
Nearly 47 percent of U.S. adults have high blood pressure with the majority of those patients requiring lifestyle modification and medication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Surgeon General’s report, “A Call-to-Action to Control Hypertension” provides solutions to avoid complications related to cardiovascular disease. A recent publication in the American Journal of Hypertension to Control Hypertension, summarizes the cost effectiveness behind hypertension management strategies. Various team-based care approaches and self-measured blood pressure programs are noted within this publication to support managing hypertension.
If your health system is developing strategies to help patients control their blood pressure, consider joining the WCHQ Chronic Disease Learning Collaborative Workgroup to network with other health systems on this topic. Contact Sheryl Pierce for more information.
Improvement Team Holds Focus Groups on Interventions to Address Health Equity
How health systems identify quality improvement strategies and interventions for the general patient population and for specific populations experiencing health disparities was the subject of a focus group hosted by WCHQ, the University of Wisconsin Health Innovation Program (HIP), and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Disparities Improvement Team members participated in the exercise during their March meeting.
Researchers at HIP and MCW will compile these results and share blinded information with participants. The results will identify best practices for designing interventions to improve health equity. WCHQ will hold additional focus groups for participants who were unable to join the Improvement Team meeting.
To participate in a future focus group or join this improvement team, contact Abbey Harburn.
Adolescent and Child Health
WCHQ members selected immunizations as a priority improvement area in 2022. Organization-wide, WCHQ selected a target of 83.6 percent for childhood immunizations and 90 percent for adolescent immunizations. This action set the stage for the Adolescent and Child Health Improvement Team’s work, which started with a review and understanding of the improvement targets to determine the strategies that would be required to meet each goal.
Vaccine hesitancy was identified as a significant barrier to improving these measures, an issue that was exacerbated by the recent pandemic. The Improvement Team members discussed the various spheres of influence that impact health care decision-making for patients and families and the need for increased guidance and education on addressing vaccine hesitancy in their patient populations. As the Improvement Team works toward these goals, they will continue to share best practices and provide education related to vaccine compliance. Strategies to improve vaccination rates will be shared throughout the year and addressed at the 2022 Adolescent and Child Health Assembly September 20, 2022.
For more information on the Adolescent and Child Health Improvement Team, contact Abbey Harburn.
Screening New Mothers for Depression
More than half of new mothers experience the “baby blues,” with 15 percent of those developing more serious post-partum depression. One health system member said it is their practice to screen new moms for depression when they bring their infants in for their initial checkup following delivery. Others said they are starting to incorporate that into their patient visits as well.
Depression is on the increase – that is why the Behavioral Health Improvement Team continues to focus on screening. This topic will be discussed in more detail at the next meeting when the members share more best practices .
To join the Behavioral Health Improvement Team, contact Jen Koberstein.