KEENE, NH (July 30, 2015) — On July 29th, Healthy Monadnock hosted a workshop for several community partners to help them improve engagement in the Monadnock Region. The workshop was led by ReThink Health, an innovative nationwide program that partners with regional leaders and peer organizations to help build healthier communities.

The workshop guided attendees in the development of stories to illustrate their mission, to find shared resources, and to better align in order to ultimately improve health outcomes and prevent the leading causes of death.

Thanks to a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene, ReThink Health is working with Healthy Monadnock to help achieve the local initiative’s goal for the Monadnock Region to become the nation’s healthiest community by 2020.

At the core of the ReThink program is its Health Dynamics Model, an interactive computer tool that — when combined with effective stewardship — helps leaders see the whole health system, experiment with how it can change, and better understand what that change will require.

The beauty of the computer modeling program is that it takes into account many different variables that could potentially contribute to a healthier community, notes Rudy Fedrizzi, director of community health, clinical integration at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene.

“It is not one specific thing that accelerates change toward a healthier health system, and it can be different depending on the community,” says Fedrizzi, who is overseeing implementation of the ReThink Health program. “The computer modeling that ReThink Health provides is just one piece of a very complex action and puzzle that we are using to figure out our local unique health circumstances.”

Taking a “test drive”

The first step to discovering how best to use this type of modeling is to take it for a “test drive,” says Fedrizzi. “The computer modeling of a healthcare system can’t work without the human component … it takes thoughtful leadership to decipher what would be the best approach for our community.”

Earlier this summer, a group of 20 community and health leaders met to test out various scenarios on the system, which has been customized with data reflecting the unique characteristics of our region.

Edward R. Guyot, an accountant with Keene-based John G. Burk and Associates, and on the advisory board for Healthy Monadnock, was one of the leaders who took the model on a test drive.

“It was an opportunity to gain some in-depth understanding of the interdependencies of the components that we define as the ‘healthcare system,’” says Guyot. “The big takeaway was that a ‘healthcare system’ is not just the medical community … proactive healthcare, rather than reactive health care has a bigger impact on health than we think. And the model lets us explore things such as livable wage, access to education, access to transportation, and other indicators that are critical to a healthy community.”

The model also helps explore the costs to a community to put these initiatives into place, he notes. “Healthy Monadnock is promoting healthy living … this is a way to design it on paper and test our assumptions,” says Guyot.

Learning what moves the needle

Eileen Fernandez, population health manager for the Cheshire Medical Center, also participated in testing the program.

“Playing around with the modeling tool helps us to see what kind of difference the dollars we invest makes … rather than blindly guess how effective something might be. This will help us get the most bang for our buck,” says Fernandez. For example, she notes, investing resources in smoking cessation programs has a “huge positive impact on the expense of healthcare,” she says. “It’s a great tool that shows what moves the needle in the health of our community.”

At a meeting in June, Healthy Monadnock gathered 100 more community leaders in a forum to present preliminary strategies based on the test drive. As the Public Health Advisory Council for the Greater Monadnock Public Health Region, members of the Council for a Healthier Community also participated in this gathering and integrated what they heard into the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) they will submit to the state of the New Hampshire in September.

“When we use the model we'll be able to assess the timeframe and impact that current programs will have on our community,” says Linda Rubin, Director of the Healthiest Community Initiative, Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene. “We can then refine and redirect our strategy for becoming the nation’s healthiest community,” she says.

The grant to partner with ReThink Health will continue to support Healthy Monadnock through the development of a business case that will allow them to better assess their opportunities and initiate a plan for action and sustainability in the Monadnock Region.

Healthy Monadnock expects to continue to share its experience with other similar communities in the region to support their efforts to improve health and health care. Learn more at: www.HealthyMonadnock.org.


 

About Healthy Monadnock 2020

Healthy Monadnock 2020 is a community engagement initiative designed to foster and sustain a positive culture of health throughout Cheshire County and the Monadnock region. Founded and developed by the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene in 2007, Healthy Monadnock 2020’s action plans are being guided in the community by the Healthiest Community Advisory Board, a group of 30 individuals representing schools, organizations, coalitions and businesses. Currently, our partners are implementing action strategies designed to improve quality of life and prevent the leading causes of death for everyone.

About ReThink Health

ReThink Health, a collaborative initiative of the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation, helps leaders and communities overcome often predictable barriers and better understand how they can accelerate processes of change towards a healthier health system. We partner with regional leaders and peer organizations to build more effective regional collaboration and stewardship, create alignment around sound and focused strategy, move ideas to action, as well as build the capacity for sustained investment. Our goal is to overcome the pitfalls and excuses that stifle creative action and to demonstrate the potential of system-wide redesign.

For More Information

Sarah Kossayda, Program Manager
Healthy Monadnock
603-354-5454 x2793
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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