Suicide Prevention is a Continued Priority
The Behavioral Health Improvement Team identified suicide prevention as a priority earlier this year and it is planning additional education events on suicide prevention topics, including Zero Suicide. According to the Wisconsin Department ofHealth Services, 861 residents died by suicide in 2020. WCHQ health systems recognize the need to continue to offer intensive behavioral health services to their patients.
WCHQ recently began collaborating with Prevent Suicide Wisconsin to include health systems in the state suicide prevention plan. The work is just beginning and WCHQ has been participating in the planning meetings. The current suicide plan does not address suicide prevention in health systems and the goal is to include the health systems in the next version of the plan. WCHQ will coordinate with Behavioral Health Improvement Team members to ensure the health systems are represented during this process.
If you are interested in learning more about this effort or in joining the Behavioral Health Improvement Team contact Jen Koberstein.
Obesity Advisory Group Begins Measurement Work
The WCHQ Obesity Advisory Group, comprised of health care professionals focused on improving care for their adult patients with obesity, has been meeting monthly since earlier this year. The group has covered a lot of topics, from nutrition counseling, medication management to surgical solutions. With 39 percent of Wisconsin residents identified as obese, this works takes on an added sense of urgency as it is a major contributor to chronic health conditions.
The Advisory Group determined that now is the time to begin capturing data to better inform their work. After reviewing and discussing measurement in detail, the group said it will continue to consider the following measures:
• Obesity diagnosis
• Obesity prevalence within population
• Obesity blood pressure control
• Obesity pre-diabetes and diabetes HbA1c control
• Obesity weight loss with medication
The Advisory Group requested that WCHQ program these measures into its Data Voyager platform and begin collecting data on them. The results will then be shared with the participating Advisory Group members and be used to design improvement work. Later, the Advisory Group members will request that the WCHQ Measurement Advisory Committee consider the measures for public reporting on WCHQ.org.
If you are interested in participating on the Obesity Advisory Group or learning more about their work on this topic, contact Jen Koberstein.
Adolescent and Child Health
Preparing for Flu Season During COVID-19 Pandemic
The 2021 flu season is approaching and clinicians, patients, and the community are preparing to address influenza as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Wisconsin health systems are planning their flu vaccination clinics and working on logistics related to vaccinating the public against influenza and COVID-19 simultaneously. Because it is possible to develop influenza and COVID-19 concurrently, magnifying the severity of respiratory symptoms, it is more important than ever to encourage the public to receive their flu vaccines prior to the height of flu season.
Current CDC guidance states that the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine can be given simultaneously. This presents a unique opportunity to vaccinate more eligible children and adults against COVID-19 when they present for an influenza vaccine. This year, CDC also recommends a specific timeframe for flu vaccination, stating that ideally all patients would be vaccinated by the end of October.
This month, the Adolescent and Child Health Improvement Team focused their discussions on how members are preparing to vaccinate patient sand to educate both patients and their parents on the importance of continuing regular flu vaccines. Many Improvement Team members are working on vaccination clinics that would offer both flu and COVID-19 vaccines to eligible patients. To join these discussions and participate in the Adolescent and Child Health Improvement team, contact Abbey Harburn.
Advocate Aurora Presents on Remote Monitoring and Care Management
At the WCHQ Chronic Disease Learning Collaborative meeting on September 27, Julie Chappelle, MSN, RN, CEN at Advocate Aurora Health shared how the health system is efficiently and effectively improving quality outcomes, as well as the quality of life, through a combination of remote monitoring and care management. Chappelle provided examples of how the program could be scalable within a variety of settings.
Following the presentation, the group spent time discussing how to better understand the members’ needs as they continue to make staffing adjustments during these challenging times. It’s clear, it will take a longtime before the health systems begin to stabilize. The value of networking for WCHQ members has never been greater.
Wisconsin communities still need support as the number of chronic conditions continues to climb and the implications of health care disparities and the pandemic linger. The question is how can care providers position themselves to do their best work? Specifically: Does the new WCHQ Chronic Disease Learning Collaborative structure support the health systems at what they do best by reducing the learning curve by quickly disseminating best practices and relevant content that improve processes and provide better care? And, if not, what needs to be done differently? WCHQ staff is reaching out to members to address those questions. As feedback is received, it will be shared with members.
WCHQ staff is updating the chronic disease toolkits for hypertension and diabetes; the links are below for reference. The group is seeking member input on the toolkits and is looking for volunteers to join a steering committee that will guide this work. Contact Sheryl Pierce for more information.
Links to Toolkits:
Oral Health Collaborative
The Future of the WCHQ Oral Health Collaborative
WCHQ has been publicly reporting dental measures since October 2020 and is planning a data refresh in October on the three current measures. The refresh will include data for the new cross-cutting medical and dental measure that identifies patients with diabetes and periodontal disease. This data will cover the time during the pandemic when many dental offices were closed and will provide important clues into the issues related to access to care for this population.
Implementing a patient reported outcome tool is a priority for the oral health collaborative in the coming year and they will continue to discuss how to begin collecting that data. The group also decided to implement a strategic planning process to guide future priorities and identify the necessary resources for implementation during this time. To learn more, contact Jen Koberstein, program manager.