Live Well DC! – A good platform for integrating health into Health Information Technology in DC and beyond

After I wrote two blog posts exploring national perceptions of obesity in the District of Columbia and the actual data behind it, @Lygeia and I happened to hear about Live Well DC!, and attended their community stakeholder meeting a week ago.

From the Live Well DC! Page at the Department of Health :

The Department of Health’s (DOH) newest health initiative, Live Well DC (LWDC) is intended to educate the public, and increase public awareness of the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices. Live Well DC is an interagency effort to create a holistic approach to health and wellness by targeting individual behaviors that result in poor health outcomes. LWDC aims to improve the health of those in our community, and ensure that District residents live longer, more productive lives by encouraging residents to follow 10 Healthy Living Tips.

The Live Well DC! program does not directly link to electronic health records, however, based on our past knowledge of what was done in New York, where a special “build” of the EHR called “Take Care New York” was created, we went to understand more about this program.

The group at the stakeholder meeting was briefed about the history of the program  by LaQuandra Nesbitt, MD, Senior Deputy Director, Community Health Administration, District of Columbia Department of Health, and quite well I might add. I was impressed with the thinking and work that has gone into this initiative so far. It appears to me that the obesity report that I referenced previously came about from this work, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the CDC.

Elections were held at the meeting for several stakeholder representative groups, including health care (Kaiser Permanente was elected, District of Columbia Primary Care Association is the alternate) and business (representatives from Pfizer, Inc., were present and were elected to fill this position).

There was  no discussion at the meeting about the potential for our region’s ability to incorporate Live Well DC concepts into its electronic health record approach; however, several of the stakeholders represented will bring this experience to the work. As the DC Regional Extension Center comes alive, I think Lygeia and I left optimistic that this work is a platform for knowing what the right work is for wellness is in DC and having a tool to help make it happen.

I am involved a little with the National Health Information Resource Center as well, specifically with the group that is developing resources for patient and family engagement parts of meaningful use (is that enough HIT terminology for you….). In any event, I would be interested if there are other communities out there who are leveraging local initiatives like this into their region-wide electronic health record implementation planning. Please post in the comments!

Ted Eytan, MD