HICCup Embarks on the Way to Wellville

By Clinical Informatics News Staff 

August 19, 2014 | The Health Initiative Coordinating Council (HICCup), a non-profit devoted to exploring new models and incentives in community healthcare, has announced the selection of five American towns to participate in its Way to Wellville challenge. The Way to Wellville is the brainchild of HICCup founder, and frequent tech investor, Esther Dyson, who conceived of the project as a way to leverage local efforts to collect and share data on what kinds of interventions are effective in promoting community health. (Dyson spoke about HICCup and the Way to Wellville at the Genes Environments Traits meeting this May.)

The five towns enrolled in the Way to Wellville will coordinate with HICCup to implement broad health initiatives, focusing especially on issues like nutrition, exercise, and other daily health behaviors where public efforts could lead to big gains in preventing chronic disease. HICCup will maintain a central repository for all five towns where data on health outcomes can be collected and analyzed. The exact metrics to be used are still under consideration, but the organization says they will focus on prominent health problems like diabetes and dental care; the cost of care; social issues like education and crime; and certain metrics tailored to health problems of local importance.

The Way to Wellville is framed as a competition, so rewards are planned for towns that make the most progress in key areas. HICCup also plans to help local officials find funding partners for their health programs, and negotiate with vendors for reduced prices on needed equipment in exchange for data or publicity.

The towns participating in the Way to Wellville, chosen from a pool of 42 applicants, are all relatively self-contained communities of under 100,000 residents, and represent markedly different regions of the United States. HICCup selected Lake County, California; Muskegon, Michigan; Niagara Falls, New York; Clatsop County, Oregon; and Spartanburg, South Carolina for the five-year challenge.


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