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Rural hospital takes proactive steps to improve citizens’ health, wellness

by Carroll County Memorial Hospital

Published on 3/21/2018

Karlene Hart knew she didn’t take care of herself as well as she should.  

“I’m the type of person who doesn’t go to the doctor unless they’re sick. I’m not too up-to-date on my yearly preventative exams,” said Hart.  

But Carroll County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) found a way to encourage Hart and other Medicare patients to take control of their health. The hospital utilizes Cerner’s Preventive Care Advisor™ and encourages their Medicare population to take part in their annual wellness visits (AWVs).   

“With this program, I was offered free blood work. I thought, ‘Why not?’” said Hart.  

Preventative Care Advisor alerts providers that a Medicare patient they’re seeing is eligible for preventative screenings, and allows the provider to order those screenings immediately. The solution can also produce a list of Medicare patients within the client’s network eligible for AWVs.  Care teams can then contact those eligible patients to schedule a screening.  

AWVs provide health-risk assessments and screenings. In addition, employees follow up with patients to offer guidance and support healthy lifestyles.  

CCMH’s Population Health Coordinator Stacey Lyon oversees the program designed to encourage AWVs and catch patients’ medical problems in advance, before growing into a larger health issue.  

“If you wait until something is wrong, then you don’t really know when it started or how far along you are. Doing it preventatively, you can hopefully catch something early,” she said.   

Lyon began performing AWVs in August 2016. By the end of the year, CCMH performed 161 AWVs. The following year, 256 patients took part in annual wellness visits by October 2017.   

The population health coordinator keeps in touch with patients to make sure they’re taking care of their health.   

“She checks on me, which means a lot. She asks me how I’m feeling,” said Judith Stevens, CCMH patient. “She explains things to me, because sometimes I need some help.”

Hart’s population health coordinator helps her make lifestyle changes, including drinking more water and managing her weight.  

“It’s just that accountability, that person I can go to,” she said. “If she doesn’t know an answer, she’ll find it for me.”  

Lyon said Preventive Care Advisor makes it easier to keep track of patients eligible for an AWV.  

“You jump into the chart, and it’s automatically right there,” she said. “It tells you that patients are eligible or they’re not eligible, and it lets you know exactly what’s due.”  

“We’re doing a lot of preventive care. I think it’s just going to keep continuing to grow,” said Lyon.   

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.