What is Live Better?
Live Better is an Archbold-led collaborative of key community leaders and partners focused on improving the overall health of the citizens of Thomas County, Georgia that was formed in 2016.
Live Better was formed as part of a challenge from Archbold President and CEO, Perry Mustian, for the us to do even more to improve the health of our community. Archbold has always had some form of clinical outreach, most often offered in the form of early identification efforts such as free screenings, prevention efforts such as our branded Health Talks, or interventional education like breastfeeding or smoking cessation classes. While those efforts have had positive impact, they really haven’t moved the needle substantially on the overall health of our community or the major prevalent diseases that exist.
We began to research current population health literature and what other hospitals were doing, which included an American Hospital Association publication that listed some of the hospitals with noteworthy efforts and apparent best practices. There was a common theme with several of the hospitals—they had reached out to leaders in key segments of the community to figure out a way to work together to improve the health of their communities. Most often, a hospital would partner with a municipality, or a school, or a large business in some way. That’s really when the Live Better concept started to form. We decided that making an effort to change the environment we live in was really going to be a key to actually making a difference.
Live Better Goals
One way we create legitimacy and accountability in every aspect of the program is to create measurable goals. Creating separate goals for adults and children—especially younger students—is necessary, given that it takes different approaches to find success for different groups.
As a group, we decided not to focus on epidemiological data (self-reported, smaller sample size), as we can’t measure our efforts until years later, negating any opportunity to quickly adjust our strategies and tactics if we see indicators of unsuccessful approaches. Instead, we measure goal progress using near real-time data.
For our adults, we use data from a large primary care practice as well as a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center to ensure we included input from a practice that primarily focused on the underserved. Between the two practices, we were able to capture BMI data for approximately 7,500 patients. Using this information, our most recent adult goal was:
Decrease the average of percent of adults in morbidly obese and obese BMI categories in a sample population of over 7,500 Thomas County residents by 1%, from 50% to 49%, from 2017 to 2018.
For children, we continue to focus on K-5 students as our sample group. Our two school superintendent board members helped us craft the goal for this group:
Increase the number of students in grades K-5 who fall within the Healthy Fitness Zone by 3%, as measured by the BMI using the Fitness Gram assessment, during successive school years.