[SeMissourian.com] Fair ~ 72°F  
High: 87°F ~ Low: 69°F
Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Blueprint for wellness Nevada and Cerner Corporation announce Healthy Nevada project

Friday, July 20, 2012

Members of the Healthy Nevada Project Leadership Board pause for a photo on the stairs of the main entry in the Cerner World Headquarters building after a tour and meetings about the project held the facility in North Kansas City, Mo. on Wednesday, July 18, 2012. Board members from left to right: Judy Feuquay, Stacy Bond, Denise Nelson, Beth Swopes, Dr. Tricia Bridgewater, Deb Asberry, Carol Branham and J.D. Kehrman. Not pictured Gina Ensor.
By Rusty Murry

Nevada Daily Mail

The city of Nevada and the Cerner Corporation of North Kansas City, Mo., have announced a partnership to design and implement a first-of-its-kind research and development project aimed at creating a "culture of health" in Nevada.

The Healthy Nevada project has been in the works for about a year; and now that all the players and a basic framework for the project are in place, officials at Cerner and the city think now is the time to announce the project.

Healthy Nevada started when city manager J.D. Kehrman was approached by representatives of the Missouri Department of Economic Development and USDA Rural Development about being on a preliminary list of cities in which the project might be undertaken. Kehrman said the representatives were vague; and nothing more was heard until a month or two later when he received a letter asking a series of "fairly unusual" questions.

Kehrman said the questions "revolved around what's this community's vision for health and wellness." They were "strange" questions, he said; and "We had no idea what was happening."

The next step was a site visit. Kehrman said city employees Mark Mitchell and Julie Lewis pulled several people into the mix and managed to put together "the best site visit I've ever been involved in, because they got all of the players to the table."

Cerner was impressed with that; and, according to Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Jeff Townsend, they chose Nevada over a variety of other cities across the state because the city "has the key components we were looking for." Among those components were a strong medical community, employers willing to see a different future and a great parks system. The most impressive thing, Townsend said was, "The people and the leadership -- from elected officials to corporate leaders and community leaders -- all coming together around a common vision."

The vision

Members of the Healthy Nevada Leadership Board -- a group of area health professionals and community leaders involved in the coordination of the project so far -- envision the community as becoming a model of coordinated and integrated medical facilities and professionals that are one aspect of a broad program. The web of healthy resources also will include wellness programs like exercise programs, fitness initiatives, diet challenges and efforts designed to make living a healthy lifestyle the easiest choice.

Cerner executive Erik Gallimore said, "We want to work with you to do all of these things."

According to board member Dr. Tricia Bridgewater, the board and Cerner envision a "working lab of health" where it's easy to move through the city and in a way that's healthy. Kehrman said it could create a "network of connectivity" where citizens could travel from residential areas to downtown or from downtown to the schools on a bicycle or on foot, "safely, and in a way that is friendly to people with mobility issues."

Discussing the need

According to Kehrman, the population in Nevada and Vernon County ranks in the bottom one-third of the state for health issues like heart disease, juvenile diabetes, obesity and other health risks. Kehrman said that by implementing this program, he hopes to see that statistic change.

"What I want this project to beis a vehicle for us to improve -- move the meter, as they say -- on these factors; we make a permanent, sustainable change in things like obesity and childhood diabetes and all those types of factors that characterize a rural -- and to some degree, poverty-stricken -- population."

Townsend said many of Cerner's top executives grew up in rural communities and "see both an opportunity and a need in rural America to have a health system that works for those citizens, for those individuals." Townsend said Cerner spent more than "a year studying health care dynamics in rural populations in Missouri" and through their lengthy process "selected Nevada as our iconic community to go discover what might be possible."

Cerner's role

According to Townsend, Cerner has 30 years' experience in the health and healthcare delivery business and is on the cutting edge of medical software technology. Townsend says Cerner will come into Nevada and canvass the community to find out how they can make the project a success. He said public engagement will enable them to discover what would make living healthier and obtaining health care easier. Then Cerner will invest in the ideas.

"If we think the idea will produce a result and is viable, then we will make that investment," Townsend said.

Kehrman said the city has no "money on the table" in the project.

Townsend said everyone has a healthcare story that they wish had transpired differently and that by being in the community during the first 60 to 90 days of the project "to hear the stories and the needs of the locals there, we can ideally come up with solutions to make that better."

If the project is successful, then Cerner would have a viable model of community health and wellness that they can use in conjunction with their software to improve the health and wellness of almost any population and to sell their products and services.

Preparations made

Nevada Regional Medical Center had already started working on changing over to a completely paperless system, according to CEO Judy Feuquay. The Cerner system will enable the hospital to implement that system in one year instead if three or four years. It will be much quicker because "Cerner does a whole lot of the work," Feuquay said. "They do the groundwork for us," which means the hospital gets "a product that is very close to being finished."

The software is complex but it lets all the hospital staff operate with the same information in front of them and minimizes the time spent entering data. Feuquay said the new system will allow her staff "more time to do the thing they went to medical school for -- spend more time with patients."

The new system also will enable NRMC to communicate with other health care providers in the community. Feuquay said that implementing this system should reduce duplication of services and reduce the cost of health care to the patient as well as improve the health and wellness of the community. Nevada is going to be the first community in the country to be in this pilot research and development project. "It's very cool, something that's never been done before," said Feuquay.

Moving forward

The next step in the process is getting the community involved. Much of the next step is "creating awareness" according to Feuquay -- awareness of the simple changes in their lives that can impact their health and wellness. Cerner is going to engage the civic groups in the community and try to get the schools involved. Then, ideas for creating a working, sustainable and repeatable model of community health should begin to unfold. According to Townsend, national statistics will be used to track success, but the programs and things that will be done in the community will be determined by the community.

Townsend said not all ideas will work for all people; so they plan to "find out why it didn't for some and let them be targeted with something else."

Townsend said, "The partnership is working when city leadership goes to Cerner with an idea, needing help to implement it. That's when sustainability kicks in and you've now taken over on your own; and you're off and running. I think we'll see that inside the first year," Townsend said, "it will be exciting when that happens."

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on nevadadailymail.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

the current electronic record system was to have done the same in communicating with others etc. I would hope this new system would be a vast improvement over the current, which is about 4 years old. I would also suggest a physician be on the board.

-- Posted by wray.janet on Fri, Jul 20, 2012, at 7:58 AM

They need to do something about food options. Unless you pack a lunch the night before, your lunchtime choices in Nevada are almost exclusively fast food joints. The closest thing we have to a whole foods store is a farmer's market.

-- Posted by IcedGreenTea on Fri, Jul 20, 2012, at 11:14 AM

The first move should be to bring in a pack of drug sniffing hounds and let them loose to rid the town and county of all the illegal substances that are quietly destroying our society.The High School would be a good starting place. Some of the verbiage in the article is absolute poppycock.

-- Posted by Ponto on Fri, Jul 20, 2012, at 2:13 PM

How exciting that Cerner wants to take their time and resources and INVEST in Nevada! I hope people recognize how much of a gift this is and how it can open doors to more good things.

-- Posted by greatesc on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 8:21 AM

Honestly, one of the best things they could do to improve health is improve the local economy by providing decent jobs. When people are financially sound, they visit the doctor more often, the dentist, the eye doctor, etc. They buy better food instead of just cheap stuff that is filling. Instead we'll probably get pamphlets that say "Eat fruits and vegetables. Exercise more" and other stuff we already know. I'm so sick of that. We also wouldn't need the drug-sniffing hounds Ponto mentioned if offenders were not routinely put back on the streets through too much probation & bail.

-- Posted by IcedGreenTea on Sun, Jul 22, 2012, at 11:49 AM

I think that once we see the full spectrum of what Cerner has in mind we will see something that is not what we imagined. It won't be pamphlets and feel good words of the month. If the community gets behind this, we could see a positive transformation of our community. With that others will also want to invest in Nevada. One of the important benefits a big employer likes to offer to it's employees is a good lifestyle and culture. Our area has it's good and it's bad. (like ANY town) If we stop focusing on what is bad and look more at enhancing what is good, and there is a lot of good, we may find some of the negative slowly disappear. I too hope for better economic growth. Being able to provide for your family with a good job has a huge impact on many things. What you can afford to eat, and better produce in the stores because people will buy it, how you take care of your home, yourself, self-pride, and less stress which could bring down drugs, alcohol, and violence. Being a healthy community isn't purely medical.

-- Posted by greatesc on Sun, Jul 22, 2012, at 3:15 PM

I hope we see something worthy of the $10 million they appropriated!

-- Posted by USS_Missouri on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 11:16 AM

I think we need to see what Cerner has in mind before the ideas are automatically shot down. Being chosen for a project is a major milestone for this community and I for one would like to see it succeed. The problem with a lot of people's health these days is that we think the government should help us when we don't even help ourselves. For the majority of people, if we're in poor health, its because of the personal choices we've made. We all need to take personal responsibility for our choices of the food we eat and exercise. Its not the governement's fault if we don't educate ourselves and make better decisions. Thanks to the team that is bringing this to Nevada. Lets make it a success and be a benchmark for other communities. Be part of something positive and join in!

-- Posted by Looking Forward on Fri, Jul 27, 2012, at 1:02 PM

I think this is wonderful! Will exercise programs be included in this plan for free or a very small fee? I am an adult and would like to use the Community Center. But as of last week they do not offer adult programs. They use to. I have taken aerobics and yoga classes in the past. I cannot afford to join the Y. But a small fee (less than $25 for a 6 week course) I could probably handle.

-- Posted by Stella Marie on Sat, Aug 11, 2012, at 10:50 AM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: