At ProMedica, Physicians Encourage Families to Bring Their Whole Health Story to the Table
Randy Oostra and Barbara Petee believe that ProMedica’s mission – to improve health and well-being – begins long before, and extends after, the front door of the hospital. Conversations about the need to play a greater role in the health of the community led these two senior leaders at ProMedica to create Come to the Table, a new prevention program focused on food insecurity. What started as an effort to address hunger as a health issue led to a change in how the hospital approaches health care and prevention. Now ProMedica screens patients for food insecurity along with 10 other lifestyle factors that impact health, by asking questions about things like their access to transportation, education, housing, domestic safety, financial stability and nutrition. When physicians discover that their patients are struggling in any of these areas, they work to connect those patients with the right services. For instance, through a screening, one hospital staff member found that an elderly diabetic woman’s electricity was set to be turned off the following day, which would endanger her diabetes treatment, as her insulin needed to be refrigerated. By making a few phone calls to the right services, ProMedica succeeded in keeping the woman’s electricity on. In this case, as in so many cases at ProMedica, looking at patients’ health holistically and asking the right questions made a big difference, and prevented a potentially serious consequence.