Better Health Partnership Says It's Time To Look Beyond The Doctor's Office
Better Health Partnership presented its annual report card on the health of Northeast Ohio residents on Friday.
BHP is a non-profit that collaborates with many local health systems and clinics to collect health data using electronic health records. Cleveland Clinic did not participate this year but it has in previous years.
The data from more than 200,000 adults showed gradual improvements overall in diabetes and high blood pressure rates but health disparities remain between whites and minority groups, says the group’s chief data scientist Thomas Love.
He says though the gap is narrowing in one area: “Blood pressure control is getting better faster among African Americans than it is among white patients now, but the white patients still generally have better blood pressures."
Although the report shows some improvement in certain chronic diseases, they are nearing the limit of what can be done in clinical settings, he said.
To make greater improvements and narrow the racial gap, healthcare organizations will have to look beyond their four walls and instead address all of the things that influence a patient's health, Love said. “So that includes the stresses you have, the food you eat, the kind of exercise you are able to get, the ability you have to get the resources to take care of yourself ... all those things are important."
The report also looked at the health of children in Northeast Ohio, where again significant racial and geographic disparities exist. According to the findings from the medical records review, 16 percent of children in Cuyahoga County have been diagnosed with asthma. In Summit county that number is 22 percent. The report noted that black children who live in low-income areas have much higher asthma rates than white children who live in high-income neighborhoods.