Through Innovation, We Deliver Improved Care at Reduced Cost
In 2008, our donor-supported Partnership for Innovation gave more than $700,000 for six patient-care initiatives with the potential to deliver better care at lower cost. This five-year, $1.5 million initiative boosts the reach of our pioneering spirit and our donors' generosity.
In one example, a pharmacy team wanted to help Group Health patients with chronic diseases manage complex combinations of medications. Their innovation: packaging medicines by the dose, sealed in bubble packs that are labeled with the precise time and date each dose should be taken. For additional support, medical teams leave secure voice mail messages to help patients follow their plan, remember upcoming refills, and learn about dosing changes.
We Know Good Health Begins Outside the Exam Room
Research shows that exercise supports heart health and long-term mental function. Regular physical activity even lowered overall health care costs among 5,000 of our Medicare-aged SilverSneakers® participants at area health clubs.
And exercise can be fun, especially when you've got company. That's why over the past two years we gave $17,500 in JumpStart grants to help our staff with team fundraising for nonprofit fitness events like runs, walks, stair climbs, and cycling races.
Since 2004, we've supported hundreds of community cycling events across the region with corporate sponsorships. And to practice what we preach, more than 300 staff and Group Health members participated in cycling rides and 60 medical staff donated their time for first aid support in 2008 and 2009.
We also helped over 150 Group Health employees avoid 15,000 miles in their cars with our 2009 commute challenge. It all adds up: healthier people, cleaner air, and a whole lot of burned calories instead of burned carbons.
Our Leading-Edge Research Supports a Core Value: Disease Prevention Through Immunization
Vaccines protect us against diseases that have no treatment and no cure. For children, especially during their first years, vaccination is even more critical because their young immune systems can't fight many diseases. Because immunization aligns with our core value of disease prevention, every area of Group Health is committed to an aspect of vaccine safety, effectiveness, awareness, or access.
The Group Health Foundation recently committed $1 million to educate parents and inoculate more kids in our state over the next three years, partnering with the state's Department of Health, Seattle Children's Hospital, school districts, local health agencies, and others to increase access.
Group Health Tapped to Research the Power of Shared Decision-Making
When patients have conditions where there's little evidence that one treatment works better than another, our doctors don't just make the call. Instead, they can use shared decision-making: providing information and tools that help patients weigh their options and choose what fits their life.
Washington was the first state to pass shared decision-making legislation, and Group Health is helping to evaluate its impact. Earlier studies show that given a choice of equally effective approaches, many people choose the least invasive treatment, which may be less costly too. The Group Health Research Institute secured a two-year, $400,000 Commonwealth Fund grant to study patient satisfaction with the tools and to measure the impact on cost and utilization.