It's no secret that Oklahoma falls behind in many health status indicators.
Among the rest of the nation, Oklahoma has the second-highest number of deaths related to heart disease, seventh-highest in cancer deaths and fourth-highest in diabetes deaths. Oklahoma's adult obesity rate has nearly quadrupled since 1988, according to the state Health Department.
On Tuesday, during a news conference at the Capitol, state health leaders said although Oklahoma faces many challenges, health care providers are working together to stimulate change.
“Changing health care is hard — changing behavior is even harder,” said Gregg Koehn, the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality chief executive office. “We certainly don't have all the answers, but we can together make a difference.”
The Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality hosted the news conference, which served as an announcement of “Oklahoma Healthcare Quality Week.” Gov. Mary Fallin proclaimed in August that the health care quality week would run Oct. 14 to Oct. 20.
The foundation is a state-based “Quality Improvement Organization,” a term that means it's contracted through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to improve the effectiveness of services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries, according to the center's website.
Koehn said over the past few years, the organization has helped about 1,000 primary care providers implement electronic medical records. About 200 providers have achieved Stage 1 Meaningful Use, he said.
“Meaningful use” is the set of standards defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Incentive Programs that governs the use of electronic health records and allows eligible providers and hospitals to earn incentive payments by meeting specific criteria, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.