University of Nebraska Medical Center

Engaging Strategic Partners to Manage Chronic Disease in the Nebraska Panhandle

Kelsey Palm, MPH

Public Health Practice –  The Panhandle Public Health District (PPHD) serves the 12 counties that make up the Panhandle of Nebraska – Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Grant, Kimball, Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Sioux, and Sheridan counties. Scotts Bluff County, the most recent addition to the health district, officially joined as a department in December 2016. Collectively, the district provides service to approximately 88,000 people spanning more than 14,000 square miles.

UNMC College of Public Health MPH graduate Kelsey Palm began work at PPHD in January 2016 as the Community Health Planner & Performance Management Coordinator. In her role as Community Health Planner, Kelsey works in partnership with area hospitals, clinics, and community organizations to improve population health management of chronic disease. Working with support from a CDC 1422 grant, PPHD has partnered with local healthcare organizations to prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Some of the measures that have been employed include implementation of team-based care, supporting disease management through the use of the electronic medical records, and by using quality reporting measures and physician dashboards.  Kelsey anticipates that engaging health care extenders, such as community health workers and pharmacists, in this partnership will provide an extended network for patient support and care.

As a Public Health Accreditation Board accredited health department, PPHD is required to employ a performance management system that is designed to drive quality improvement. In her role as Performance Management Coordinator Kelsey has developed a performance management system using the Clear Impact Scorecard, a cloud-based performance management, and reporting software. Kelsey has developed program level performance measures and lined up the various levels of performance throughout the organization (program, community health improvement plan, strategic plan, etc.).

Working in collaboration with community health extenders and using quality management tools Kelsey hopes to see reductions in the levels of chronic disease in the Nebraska Panhandle.

This article was written by Ellen Duysen, Community Outreach Specialist – Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, UNMC

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