In my job, I don’t just get to envision the possible in health care. I get to see the possible in action. As we look at how to improve health and health care in the Garden State, you, our members, often provide creative and powerful examples.
A favorite part of my job is the bird’s eye view I get of your work. I then have the opportunity to explore and share your innovations with others around the state. What can we learn? Can we scale your best practice? Can we spread those examples of strong leadership to make improvements that change lives?
Lately, as I’ve visited and worked with many of you, I’ve been in awe of how you are advancing health care in many ways.
- At Cooper University Hospital, we spoke to the Maternal Fetal Medicine and Obstetrics leaders at Cooper, who provide care for pregnant women, many with high-risk pregnancies. While most hospitals in New Jersey have Cesarean rates over 30 percent, Cooper’s is just 19.4 percent. What struck me was how they described their culture. All the physicians with hospital privileges, whether employed by the hospital, the FQHC, or in private practice, have a spirit of mutual respect, love of evidence-based medicine, and the ability to work collaboratively. They meet regularly to share best practices, communicate regularly on an all-OB-GYN email, and share the goal of making sure that each woman who can have a vaginal birth has a vaginal birth. No physician is siloed, and communication is ongoing. And, there is transparency as they discuss all the patients together no matter who provides the care. I was inspired and eager to share their work with our Maternal Quality Improvement Collaborative.
- In Cumberland County, we found a simple and fun way to support healthy eating. Through our Mayors Wellness Campaign and our grant from the United Health Foundation, Live Healthy Cumberland County created a local “Dining Week” with 35 restaurants offering healthy meal specials. Live Healthy Cumberland County worked with a local dietician to develop three healthy options for each restaurant, and the group gave the restaurants educational and promotional materials, such as placemats and vinyl decals to advertise the availability of healthy options in the restaurant window. Diners who selected the healthy options received the chance to win one of three $100 gift cards from a drawing. Live Healthy Cumberland will be sharing more of its work at our Population Health Breakfast on February 27th.
- And recently I visited with Kyung Hee Choi, vice president in charge of Holy Name Medical Center’s Asian Health Services program. Now in its 10th year, the program works with more than 280 Asian-American physicians and 250 religious and community groups. Our state has the fourth largest Asian-American population in the United States, and, in Bergen County, Asian Americans account for more than 14 percent of the population. The program addresses the language and cultural barriers that might send someone to the emergency room instead of to a trusted primary care physician. We just started working with the hospital to create culturally appropriate materials for the Quality Institute’s Conversation of Your Life program that can be used by the Korean and Chinese communities. We want our materials to not just translate the words but to connect with different communities.
Please keep me apprised of the work you are doing to improve health care for the people of our state — and how you are doing more than just envisioning the possible but actually making it happen.