July 5, 2016

Groundbreaking effort will address obesity, mental health in Denver area

Ed Sealover                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Denver Business Journal

Obesity, diabetes and mental-health issues all play significant roles in driving up health care costs in Colorado and nationwide — and now a group of local health organizations will attempt to use data to address these conditions in new ways at a local level.

The Colorado Health Institute received a $1.9 million grant Wednesday from the Colorado Health Foundation to lead CHORDS, the Colorado Health Observation Regional Data Service. It will work in conjunction with local health agencies in seven metro-area counties, the University of Colorado-Denver, Denver Health and CORHIO, the state’s largest health information exchange network.

CHORDS will aggregate patient-level clinical data from participating health-care providers, target intervention strategies for particular communities and then measure the effectiveness of those efforts over a two-year period. It will be one of the first projects in the country to use PopMedNet, a software technology that tracks data on critical population-health indicators, at a local level.

“CHORDS can help public health professionals to better understand what health looks like in their counties,” said Sara Schmitt, CHI’s director of community health policy. “It adds a level of precision that will build on the survey data traditionally available to public health agencies and supports their efforts to address health disparities.”

Children’s Hospital Colorado, Kaiser Permanente Colorado and a number of community clinics focused on low-income populations all have agreed so far to participate, giving the project a wide scope. The project will be housed at the Adult and Child Consortium for Outcomes Research and Delivery Science on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.