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An Ounce of Prevention in Idaho

September 20, 2018

Kelly Means, M.P.H.
Quality Improvement Consultant
Qualis Health

My call to public health came shortly after I finished my bachelor’s degree. I was planning to become a doctor, so I was busy preparing to apply to medical school--studying for the MCAT, working at a local hospital and shadowing a primary care physician.

One of the PCP’s regular appointments was with a severely obese 2-year-old and the child’s mother. Despite the doctor’s guidance on healthier eating, the toddler’s weight stayed the same week after week. Eventually we learned that most of the family meals consisted of prepackaged foods from the convenience store near their home. With two jobs, three young children and a two-hour bus ride to the closest grocery store, it was almost impossible for the overweight toddler’s single mother to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

It was this patient interaction that inspired me to change course and pursue a career in public health. I saw firsthand the impact I could have by focusing on health at the community level--reducing obesity by eliminating food deserts, cutting cancer deaths by promoting screenings, curbing preventable diseases by helping people get vaccinations. Instead of treating sick people, I wanted to keep people from getting sick.

As a quality improvement consultant at Qualis Health, I get to do just that. I’ve been able to work with hospitals, health systems, medical associations, doctors, patient advocates and community members on unique projects aimed at improving the lives of Idahoans.

My current project has brought together a passionate group of health care organizations to take on a serious public health issue: pneumonia. Each year, about one million people in the United States get pneumonia. Each year, it kills thousands. Those who survive often face weeks or months of recovery. And yet, it can be prevented with proper immunizations.

A few months ago, the Southeastern Idaho Public Health District, Idaho State University, Portneuf Quality Alliance and Bingham Memorial Hospital, among others, partnered with Qualis Health to boost pneumonia immunization rates. As each organization committed time and resources to this effort, the value of our group became clear: together, we could have a deep impact. With this shared vision, we developed a communitywide approach to increase demand, enhance access to vaccination services and reduce missed opportunities to vaccinate.

This month, we launched a public awareness campaign that includes radio, transit, social media and print advertising. Additionally, we developed an educational website for clinicians that includes evidence-based interventions, immunization resources and campaign materials for pharmacies and primary care offices, as well as useful information for patients.

Join me in the fight against pneumonia! To find out more about pneumonia vaccines and where you can get yours, visit vaccinefinder.org.

About the Author

Kelly Means is a quality improvement consultant and passionate public health champion. Her community-focused approach to improving health care has led to innovative programs in Idaho and Colorado.



The Power of the Diabetes Self-Management Program

August 23, 2018

London Manor-Petersen
Quality Improvement Consultant
Qualis Health


Shortly after I joined Qualis Health, I was invited to become a Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) lay leader. The DSMP is a six-week workshop designed by Stanford University that’s been proven to help people with diabetes manage and improve their health.

Continue reading "The Power of the Diabetes Self-Management Program"




Suicide Rates Are Climbing, but We Can Help Those Who Are Hurting

July 3, 2018

David Beery, M.A.
Vice President, Care Management
Qualis Health


Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Two recent high-profile deaths, occurring during the same week, that have turned the spotlight on suicide. Has suicide become a greater threat or is the increased media attention on suicide simply a reflection of Mr. Bourdain and Ms. Spade’s celebrity status?

Continue reading "Suicide Rates Are Climbing, but We Can Help Those Who Are Hurting"



Opioid Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate

May 18, 2018

John Vassall, M.D.
Physician Executive, Quality and Safety
Qualis Health


As a physician, I’ve been following the opioid epidemic for several years. I read a lot about the topic, everything from what’s published in the mainstream news to new studies being released in medical journals. Earlier this year, I began working on an opioid-related project at Qualis Health.

Continue reading "Opioid Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate"



Exciting Times for a Growing Company

April 16, 2018

Marc Bennett, M.A.
President and CEO
Qualis Health and HealthInsight


Two months ago, Qualis Health and HealthInsight announced their intention to merge. We’re thrilled to follow that up by announcing the merger is now in effect. You can read our press release here.

Continue reading "Exciting Times for a Growing Company"

Get the Shot

Immunizations save lives.

»find out where you can get vaccinated at vaccinefinder.org

»watch our immunizations video

Focus on Prevention

Pneumonia is preventable. A new website for pharmacies and primary care offices includes:

  • Evidence-based interventions
  • Immunization resources
  • Campaign materials

»check it out today