By Rosemary Anthony, Senior Director of Population Health, Arnot Health
I know that “access” is a big issue with pharma, bio and medical device reps these days. And I know how busy our doctors are, which is part of why access to them is at a premium. But working on the inside gives me insights into how you can become a valued and long-term friend of your local healthcare professionals (HCPs) and hospitals. You want access? Here’s how to get it. I’ve been a nurse and administrator for over three decades, working in many of the hospital departments. Like everyone in this field, I am laser-focused on the patients, and on the health of the community so we prevent many people from becoming patients. Your job is similar – you want to help people get better. So work with us to make that happen, which will enhance your image and communication with hospital personnel.
Arnot Health is an acute care hospital system in upstate New York. We’re not huge, but we get noticed. We’ve been recognized by Blue Cross/Blue, CMM (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid), the American Heart Association, the Healthcare Association of New York State…well, you get the picture. We try harder.
What I cover is Arnot Health’s Population Health Department. When I assumed this position, I knew I’d never be bored. Chemung County has dangerously high rates of obesity and diabetes, tobacco use, poverty, unemployment. I knew we had to do more than just take care of incoming patients. We had to reverse these trends.
Bringing together medical professionals, local businesses and community-based agencies, we set about to engage the community in health awareness.
How you can help us help others
In the sidebar, you’ll see some of the accomplishments our system has had, in a community wrestling with both health and economic issues. We have attracted support because we’ve shown that our programs really work. And the reason I’m telling you all this in a publication aimed at sales and marketing executives is because the access door you’re looking for opens wide when you assist in our efforts.
Look at the list, and think about aligning your business strategy with that of your customers who are developing programs like ours:
• Sponsor or participate in efforts similar to Creating Healthy Places, Age Friendly or Step It Up. Example: you could provide pedometers for health-oriented programs
• Expand your services to include home-based care models. Example: hire reps to do medication reconciliation in homes or at point of transition from hospital to home/ rehab to outpatient services, etc.
• Work with the whole range of healthcare professionals instead of just doctors. Example: respiratory therapists to help develop breathing treatment protocols (with meds) for therapy at home or in assisted living facilities
• Consider how you can help the aging population, a major concern of hospital systems
• Corporate compliance prevents hospitals from “prescribing” a particular product or company to work with, but competitive packages can be offered to patients with products or services from other companies. Consider offering coupons to patients who receive prescriptions for your products.
• In your brainstorming sessions for marketing tactics, consider what you might do to offer community-based educational programs, particularly on disease prevention and disease management
• Increase focus on “prevention” To be successful in today’s healthcare environment, marketing will have to be more bottom up, more aligned with the things hospitals and HCPs deal with daily. More outreach = more market share and profitability. Ask what your doctors and hospitals are trying to do, and let them know you’re interested in being part of those activities.
WHAT A SMALL HOSPITAL SYSTEM HAS BEEN ABLE TO DO
We’ve made great strides for a modest system. We were awarded an $875,000 grant from the New York State Department of Health for bringing together 30 agencies to strategize how to “Create Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play.” We improved parks and playgrounds for physical activity, provided opportunities for area residents to grow their own food, and worked with area restaurants to change the standard for what menus offer in terms of nutritional value. Professionals from as far away as Singapore have visited us to learn about the success of this and our other community outreach programs.
Our hospital system collaborates with other agencies. For example, the School Readiness Project (SRP), which has helped local schoolchildren improve readiness by 21% (far beyond our initial goal), got initial funding of $1,000,000 from the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning, plus 65% matching funds from Chemung County. Chemung is not one of New York’s most affluent counties, so local support is critical to the success of any outreach effort. SRP helps parents of children up to age five with early care, education, healthcare and more to mitigate identified risk factors.
“Step It Up” is another partnership program, free to area residents. Participants register for a six-week program, logging their blood pressure, blood glucose, weight, BMI, body fat and details of their current eating habits. In the first cycle we saw these results:
• 76% of participants had a decrease in blood pressure
• 34.1% saw their blood glucose drop by an average of 20.3 mg/dL
• 62.8% lost an average of 3.6 pounds
• 74.4% lost an average of 3.41% body fat
• 71.7% made food choice changes that helped them achieve these results
All program participants receive free health screenings and a walking log to track their own physical activity and the first 100 registrants receive free pedometers. They are mailed weekly nutritional newsletters.
Arnot Health is generating media coverage of its programs
The World Health Organization Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities® helps communities prepare for a growing aging population. In cooperation with WHO, AARP has established a Network of Age-Friendly Communities. In December of 2012, Chemung County became the first upstate New York community to be admitted into the network. Chemung County’s over-65 population is16% of the total population, and is projected to increase to 21% by 2030. As we age, we are more likely to become disabled and/or chronically ill, and this generation will have fewer caregivers and children. Yet older adults continue benefit their communities economically. According to the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, the 50-plus age group owns 65% of the aggregate net worth of all U.S. households. Working with WHO and AARP, we want to increase the ability of older adults to contribute to the community while reducing costly healthcare needs. •
Rosemary Anthony, Senior Director of Population Health, Arnot Health Rosemary has a worked as a registered nurse and administrator for 32 years. Her experience includes medical intensive care, cardiovascular post-surgical critical care, nursing supervision, staff development, preventive health program development, community outreach and health education, hospital department management, and appointments to the New York State Department of Health’s Prevention Agenda Taskforce and the Healthcare Association of New York State’s Community Health Taskforce. Rosemary has a BSN, an RN, an MSE in adult education, and advanced certificates in training and human resource development. She is a certified fitness professional in a variety of disciplines, and specializes in developing preventive health and fitness programs for special populations. She was awarded the Carolyn Britton Nurse Excellence Award and an award on behalf of her team of community outreach nurses from the New York State Association of Rural Health for an Outstanding Community Outreach Program.
Arnot Health not-for-profit hospitals include Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, NY, a 256-bed tertiary medical facility offering specialty services including cardiovascular care, cancer care, women’s health services, emergency medicine and surgical services; Ira Davenport Hospital, in Bath, NY, a 38-bed acute care hospital offering ancillary services and emergency medicine, plus a 120-bed skilled nursing facility; and St. Joseph’s Hospital, in Elmira, a Catholic 295-bed acute care hospital specializing in orthopedic care, physical rehabilitation, geriatric medicine, behavioral science and alcohol rehabilitation. email@example.com