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Fort HealthCare

Clinicians and others at Fort HealthCare are working with the Cerner ITWorks team to improve its community health ranking.

Predicting, preventing disease

Thanks to the work of leaders at Fort HealthCare and others in Fort Atkinson, Wisc., healthy behaviors are becoming the way of life for area residents of Jefferson County.

Based on overall health outcomes, the southern Wisconsin county, where Fort HealthCare is the dominant healthcare provider, ranks 8th out of 72 counties in 2016, according to County Health Rankings, up from 33rd in 2012.

“We are getting much better at predicting and preventing disease rather than reacting and responding,” said President and CEO Mike Wallace. “We think that this is the right thing to do; we think it is sustainable; [and] we think this is where the industry is headed.”

Declining obesity, physical inactivity

In the same time period, Jefferson County also has moved to 11th from 44th in the “Health Behaviors” category.

Highlights include decreases in adult obesity to 29 percent from 32 percent and in physical inactivity to 17 percent from 22 percent.

As these and other numbers improve, Fort HealthCare continues to work with the ITWorks team to optimize its current technology and invest in new solutions to fulfill its vision to be the healthiest community in Wisconsin.

“This is a group effort," said Chris Manakas, chief medical information officer. “Everybody is in it to make sure that everybody really is as healthy as they can be.”

Upgrading the patient portal

One way Fort HealthCare engages patients is through direct-book scheduling, which allows them to make appointments through a secure web portal. The organization also releases all labs to the portal as soon as the results are available and radiology results within 72 hours.

In addition, the ITWorks team has worked with clinicians to create an immunization chart, which helps parents of pediatric patients, particularly during school registration.

Currently, Fort HealthCare has more than 11,000 patients using the portal, which is up 29 percent since the team optimized the portal a year ago.

The Fort team continues to assess other ways to engage patients. On Jan. 1, for example, the organization made physician visit notes available to the patients through the Open Notes initiative.

“You can’t be a passive participant in your health,” Wallace said. “You have to be active. You have to know your numbers, and you have to be engaged.”

Identifying gaps in patient care

Fort HealthCare continues to move forward in the area of population health management by implementing HealtheRegistriesSM.

Through the solution, clinicians are able to gather data on patients to help prevent chronic conditions and to identify, attribute, measure and monitor patients who are at-risk.

These registries and scorecards help clinicians identify, score and predict risks of individuals or populations and implement targeted interventions. Ultimately, the technology allows Fort HealthCare providers to be more proactive in the care of patients.

“Our whole population health HealtheRegistries project … really brings to light patient gaps in care.” said Barb Sorcic, director, clinic operations, Fort Medical Group. “We have multiple ways now to reach out to patients and quickly identify those patients’ needs.”

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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.