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Past Successes

WNC Triple Aim

The “Triple Aim,” developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), seeks the simultaneous pursuit of three aims:

  • Improving the experience of care, 
  • Improving the health of the population, and 
  • Reducing per capita cost of healthcare. 

Utilizing the healthcare model for improvement and collective impact, WNC Triple Aim worked across the region from 2011-2014 to promote continuous improvement while tracking both outcome and process measures. WNC Triple Aim efforts worked to align existing efforts and catalyze new initiatives to address priority health and healthcare challenges.

WNC Triple Aim implementation was guided by innovative leaders from various health and healthcare related organizations working to improve health in western North Carolina. These organizations included:

  • Hospitals
  • Health Departments 
  • Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) 
  • NC Center for Health and Wellness at UNC-Asheville 
  • Western Carolina Medical Society (WCMS) 
  • Private practice physicians, and others 

There were more than 200 individuals from 70 organizations participating in the 7 WNC Triple Aim teams. This process of involving many healthcare organizations in western North Carolina was designed to help embed and sustain the Triple Aim approach and way of thinking in multiple settings across our region.  

As the backbone support organization for WNC Triple Aim, WNC Health Network connected teams to facilitation, data, planning, and evaluation support to guide the implementation of measureable actions to improve health outcomes in western North Carolina. This regional initiative was made possible from funding in part by The Duke Endowment.

WNC Health Network members and partners continue to embed the “Triple Aim” in their regional and local improvement efforts. Implementation of collective impact approaches to priority health issues supported by WNC Health Network will move forward through enhanced alignment with the regional community health improvement process, WNC Healthy Impact

WNC Healthy Kids

Launched in 2009, WNC Healthy Kids was a population health improvement initiative of WNC Health Network. The effort was designed to reduce and prevent childhood obesity in western North Carolina. Sixteen counties collaborated on WNC Healthy Kids, including Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Yancey, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). Other key partners included:

  • NC Center for Health and Wellness at UNC-Asheville
  • MAHEC Center for Healthy Aging 
  • MAHEC Library and Knowledge Services 
  • Healthy Carolinians Partnerships - Western Region 
  • NC Public Health Incubator Collaboratives 
  • Be Active North Carolina/Appalachian Partnership 
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation - Kids in Parks 
  • Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) 

In addition, this partnership included: Cooperative Extension in WNC, YMCA of Asheville, CCWNC, Partnership for Children NC, Head Start programs in WNC, Cherokee Choices, Mission Children’s Hospital, Western Carolina Medical Society, and local school principals, superintendents, and child nutritionists.

WNC Healthy Kids, through a broad collaboration among all partners, facilitated a comprehensive approach focused on children and families, mobilized the larger community and schools, addressed public policy issues and barriers to healthy living, and communicated and coordinated successful regional efforts.

WNC Healthy Kids program components added value by sharing new information and best practices with others who wished to reduce childhood obesity. Major accomplishments include:

  • Development of a website and a program database with tools, best practices, and links to healthy living initiatives for use by regional partners in childhood obesity prevention 
  • Piloting of a primary care BMI data initiative, collecting information for over 12,000 children age 2-17 in 6 pediatric primary care practices in Buncombe, Henderson, and Transylvania counties  
  • Improvement of primary care providers' approach to childhood obesity prevention and treatment through the use and implementation of work flow changes developed in collaboration with WNC Pediatric Care Collaborative 
  • Promotion of a common, simple social message, and aligning framework called 5-2-1 Amlost None across the 16 western NC counties including EBCI: 
    • 5-2-1 Almost None message was identified in 2011 by the policy committee of WNC Healthy Kids coalition: Buncombe County Department of Public Health, Macon County Public Health, NC Center for Health and Wellness at UNC-Asheville, and Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!)  
    • WNC Health Network continues to support portions of this strategy (see Current Focus) 

WNC Data Link

On January 26, 2006, WNC Health Network launched a solution that ultimately would link 17 area hospitals together to electronically share patient data. The innovative solution, initially implemented by IBM, was the first regional health information exchange in North Carolina and one of the largest in North America at the time.   

WNC Data Link allowed participating doctors and other authorized clinicians to quickly, easily, and securely view patient information over the internet.  Access to this system provided clinicians with patient specific information so they could more accurately and efficiently provide treatment, avoid potential problems, and eliminate unnecessary testing. 

Over time, changes in the healthcare industry and the evolution of healthcare information exchange alternatives led to the decision to close WNC Data Link. The system was deactivated on September 15, 2014.