Unlike the sick care system, the well care system operates as a public good, accessible to all everywhere in a familiar format (like a highway system, or the electric grid). Because the well care system is dependent on community linkages and social connections, it is delivered as a collection of geographical region-level hubs. The regions are of a sensible size so that each maintains a unique culture and “neighborhood feel,” but large enough to leverage and equitably distribute the value of key local resources. In many ways, the well care system operates like a network of accountable communities for health, each growing and learning independently and reinvesting in themselves.
The well care system model has several advantages:
- It provides a tangible and direct way for communities to engage in the implementation of evidence-based, cost-saving health promotion
- It provides an opportunity for standardization and quality that enables communities to be reimbursed for cost-saving health promotion
- It provides a mechanism for building community capacity equitably as costs saved are reinvested in the well care system
- When fully operationalized, it enables a shift in resources from low-value sick care to highest-value well care
Implementing the well care system requires creating a new system from the ground up. Noell, et al. showed that the strongest predictor of system redesign is collaboration. The well care system must be developed and implemented as a community partnership in which all stakeholders expected to use the resulting system are involved in its design. It is also widely understood that, when stakeholders are involved in creating a system, they are more likely to value and commit to it. Thus, In order to achieve the vision of community engagement in health, the well care system must be owned by communities.
Partnership is not easy, but it is rewarding and effective. It is also the best use of resources. Partnerships allow all stakeholders within the well care hub region to pool their resources toward a common goal. In order to achieve successful partnerships, certain values and operational procedures must be prioritized, including equitable community representation, shared decision making, and ethical business practices.
WellConnect is proud of our community partnership, and in the realization of our efforts to facilitate and maintain clinic-community linkages to evidence-based health promotion programs. We welcome you to join us as we reimagine the experience of health in SE MN.