Around the Regions (Fall 2013)
Employees in Colorado are well on their way to wellness. The region has had a wellness program since 2004, and for the last four years has had a cash incentive to encourage employees to participate in wellness activities. The results have been positive. From 2009 to 2012, employee obesity rates have dropped from 34 percent to 32 percent. In addition, the prevention index—a composite metric that reflects the percentage of employees who are tobacco free, up to date on preventive screenings for heart disease and cancer, and not obese—has risen, with women improving from a 46 percent rating to 52 percent, and men improving from 44 percent to 50 percent.
The Georgia region used its social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, to showcase employees, physicians and executives who mobilized for the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer in October. Photos of giant, costumed characters “Doc Broc” and “Nurse Blueberry” filled the region’s news feeds, along with pictures of KP’s walkers and supporters. By using hyperlinks and hashtags, KP’s teams could connect with others involved in the event to generate online buzz for the walk. “Doc Broc” also appears at the KP-sponsored farmers’ market at Piedmont Park and other events. When not tracking the cruciferous crusader, the social media pages keep a steady diet of healthy recipes, tips and links to blog posts by top executives to show KP and its partner unions’ joint commitment to total health.
Safety conversations are sweeping the islands, with every employee in the region striving for at least two conversations per month, thanks to an idea pioneered by the Ambulatory Surgery Recovery unit. Brightly colored “topic stimulator” cards encourage staff members to share tips in a safe, fun manner. “Sharp attack” cards keep safe needle-handling on point. “Whoa” cards steer employees toward safer patient transport and lifting. “I spy” cards safeguard confidentiality by prompting frank discussions about hallway conversations, snooping, unattended computers and the paper shredder. Christy Borton, RN, the regional workplace safety champion—and injury rates, which were already low, are staying that way “We never talked about safety. Now we do, all the time, in the most meaningful ways.”
The region’s fourth annual Learning Conference will provide opportunities to enhance skills in education and learning. Two days of workshops will provide ways to help clinical health educators improve communication skills and leverage the latest patient education technology. Informed and educated patients can participate in treatment, improve outcomes, help identify errors before they occur and reduce length of stay. This free conference also is for anyone in the region who facilitates or supports learning, including those who will be involved in engaging staff in workforce wellness activities—technical and LMP trainers, consultants, managers and supervisors, and shop stewards. Sessions begin Friday, Nov. 1, in College Park, Md. To view the conference web page and register, go to learn.kp.org and search for KPMAS Annual Learning Conference.
Marcus Barnes and Donna Norton have been named the region’s Total Health union champions. The Total Health positions help support implementation of the 2012 National Agreement. Barnes, an OPEIU Local 29 member, works in the regional Claims department. Norton, a member of SEIU UHW, is a licensed vocational nurse at the Vacaville Injection Clinic, serves as an executive board member of SEIU UHW for Vacaville and Fairfield, and is her facility’s union co-lead. The pair will work closely with local union leaders and managers to recruit and train local workforce wellness champions, help frontline employees understand the National Agreement’s Total Health Incentive Plan, and work to integrate workforce wellness and workplace safety at the front line.
Staff in the Northwest are getting healthy and having fun at the same time. At the Beaverton Medical Office, staff members teamed up to lose weight and sweetened the deal with an informal competition. Those who met their personal goal then took part in a drawing for a prize. Overall, staff members at the medical office have lost 89 pounds. If you come by, don’t be surprised if you see staff doing Instant Recess®, push-ups in the back office or working in the community garden.
Panorama City Medical Center has 52 busy “Thrive ambassadors,” who talk to their colleagues about Kaiser Permanente’s wellness programs. They also recently started one community walk per month, raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s disease, victims of violent crime and other causes. Holly Craft Moreno, who is quoted in the cover story of this issue of Hank, says the group is always recruiting new ambassadors—adding that it’s not necessary to be a “rock star who does a triathlon every day.” The willing are welcome, she says: “Some of us can’t walk as fast as others. There is always someone on our team who will slow down, too.”