Eye-Opening Report Measures Health of the Finger Lakes Region


Inaugural Community Health Indicators Report a Rich Resource for Public Health and Community Planning

A newly released report shows promise for the Rochester and Finger Lakes region’s fight against high blood pressure, among other insights. The inaugural Community Health Indicators Report was commissioned by Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and compiled by Rochester RHIO, and provides a glimpse into residents’ well-being across 13 counties: Allegany, Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.

This population health study is based on analysis of clinical data managed by Rochester RHIO, the region’s trusted health information exchange. The report summary is now available via rochesterrhio.org or by direct PDF download at bit.ly/chirhio2017, with full report data planned to be made available this summer.

Four key health measures were assessed using full-year 2017 anonymized data, with a total sample in excess of 600,000 screenings:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI): 181,310 patients screened
  • Blood pressure: 147,116 patients screened
  • Diabetes Risk (HbA1C): 236,751 patients tested
  • Smoking Status: 72,484 patients screened

The eye-opening report—the first of its kind for the community—is even more significant because it uses actual clinical inputs, which are considered the gold standard for health data. In nearly all other cases, population health statistics are based on health insurance claims data or may be self-reported.  Due to the increased use of electronic health information, analysis of community-level clinical data is now possible.

“The Community Health Indicators Report is rich resource for public analysis and planning, helping to measure the impact of regional health improvement efforts,” said Jill Eisenstein, president and CEO, Rochester RHIO. “We hope it encourages our community to better understand our region’s health status and how our own health compares, setting the stage for additional health improvement concepts and programs in the years to come.”

“What began as a benchmark initiative to assist our members with employee wellness programs took on additional depth and usefulness as the project got underway,” said Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy. “We’re eager to get the data in the hands of people who can immediately put it to use, enhancing what is already one of the most progressive communities for health care in the United States.”

While the Community Health Indicators Report is intended to serve as a benchmark for the community, it can also be used for incorporation by community leaders in their own health programs. An initial look at the overall findings offers some interesting observations:

  • The prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30) throughout the Greater Finger Lakes region (13 counties) is 41.9%. This is slightly higher than the latest national average (39.8%) reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • The percentage patients who say they smoke (status = currently smoking) is 22% of the population—higher than the latest national average (14%) reported by the CDC.
  • Nearly two-thirds of patients (66.4%) who had hypertension (high blood pressure) had their condition under control (systolic BP < 140 AND diastolic BP < 90). This is better than the national average by about 12%. According to the CDC, only about half (54%) of Americans have their high blood pressure condition under control.
  • Almost three out of four (74.4%) patients with a diabetes diagnosis had their disease under control, indicated by an HbA1c level of less than <8.0%.

In addition to the leadership of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Rochester RHIO, several community organizations supported the report. These included the Monroe County Public Health Department, Common Ground Health, and the Center for Community Health & Prevention at the University of Rochester (CCHAP).

Rochester RHIO plans to publish annual Community Health Indicators Report updates, allowing year-to-year comparisons.

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