Cleveland coalition reports improved care and outcomes

An alliance of regional healthcare providers is dedicated to
					improving healthcare in the city of Cleveland and all of
					Northeast Ohio

Better Health Greater Cleveland is an unparalleled alliance of regional stakeholders that is charged with a lofty goal: Improve the health and quality of care for the region's residents who are afflicted with chronic medical conditions.

In 2008, 361 contributing general internists and family physicians representing 44 sites in Northeast Ohio provided data on their more than 25,000 patients with diabetes. The resulting Community Health Checkup summarizes Cleveland's efforts to combat diabetes, and it announced good news: Care and outcomes both improved from 2007 to 2008.

Led by top physician-researcher Daniel I. Simon, MD, investigators at the School of Medicine, however, have discovered a marker of heart attack that promises to cuthours off the time for definitive MI diagnosis-to the tune of confirmation within 10 to 15 minutes of arriving at the emergency room. What's more, a simple blood test for the novel myeloid-related protein-8/14 (MRP-8/14) marker could give long-used cholesterol screening a run for its money as a signal of MI in the making, years ahead of the cardiac attack.

"We observed improvements both in care processes and outcomes for our patients with diabetes," says Randall Cebul, MD, professor of medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and director of the Center for Health Care Research and Policy at MetroHealth Medical Center. Dr. Cebul was a founder of Better Health in 2007 and now serves as director. "With 60 percent of the region's diabetes patients cared for by our partner organizations, Better Health is uniquely positioned to identify best practices that are being shared across the network."

Looking forward, Dr. Cebul expects the program to grow significantly, especially as government initiatives begin to support the adoption of electronic medical records, which serve as the foundation of Better Health's clinical performance measurement. In 2010, the group will add data pertaining to the care of outpatients with heart failure and high blood pressure.

As the network's capabilities continue to strengthen, Dr. Cebul says he expects Better Health to become an unprecedented resource for research.

"While the most obvious opportunities relate to the study of what works, what doesn't and why in health care delivery, there are perhaps even greater opportunities to examine the epidemiology of chronic diseases and how genes, treatment and the environment come together to influence chronic diseases and their outcomes," he says.

Partnering for Better Health

Dozens of local groups, agencies and primary care practitioners participate in Better Health Greater Cleveland. Among the partner practices are: