Group Health's Department of Preventive Care (DPC) has been involved in a broad range of projects, including the following:
- Group Health Wellness Inventory (WIN)
- Breast Cancer Screening Program
- Long-term health effects of domestic violence
- Electronic Communications and Blood Pressure Monitoring (e-BP)
- Improving household firearm storage practices in Alaska Native villages
Group Health Wellness Inventory (WIN)
Funded jointly by the Group Health Foundation, the Group Health Quality and Informatics Division, and Group Health Permanente, this telephone survey of a random sample of 800 adult Group Heath members was designed to determine the prevalence of important behavioral risks and intervention preferences across the Group Health population.
These data provide a snapshot of the current health status and health risks of Group Health members to help target the prevention services that Group Health provides. These data also provide essential demographic and risk factor data for many GHRI investigators planning research projects.
Breast Cancer Screening Program
Group Health established one of the nation's first prospective, individually tailored, population-based breast cancer screening programs in 1986. Since then, GHRI investigators have helped the program to develop and improve based on evidence collected at Group Health and elsewhere.
Since 1985, Group Health has provided women with automated mammogram reminders based on their risk of breast cancer. The screening program has several goals:
- Screen all women aged 40 and older for breast cancer.
- Give Group Health radiologists information on breast cancer risk factors that might affect mammogram results.
- Update women's breast cancer risk factors, which determine their screening interval.
In 2006, aided by DPC, Group Health launched its own Web-based health risk assessment. This Health Profile asks all Group Health members about health behaviors, risk factors, and medical history. Some of the questions are the same as those on the Breast Screening Recruitment and Reminders survey.
Long-term health effects of domestic violence
For many years, DPC has worked with GHRI on studying the prevalence and long-term health effects and costs of domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, among Group Health members, including both women and men. This is among the largest and longest population-based investigations of the effects of domestic violence to date.
By combining women's self-reported survey data with information from automated medical records, Group Health researchers have increased society's understanding of this important problem.
Electronic Communications and Blood Pressure Monitoring (e-BP)
The Electronic Blood Pressure (e-BP) trial attempted to control hypertension by using care that was based on the Chronic Care Model. It used patient Web services, home blood pressure monitoring, and pharmacist-assisted care. Beverly Green, MD, MPH, a Group Health family practice doctor and GHRI affiliate investigator, led the trial. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A three-group randomized control trial, the e-BP trial found that Web-based care nearly doubled the percentage of people whose blood pressure was controlled (under 140/90 mm Hg). In the people with the highest blood pressure (at least 160 mm Hg systolic), typically the hardest to treat, e-BP care nearly tripled the proportion whose hypertension was under control.
Improving household firearm storage practices in Alaska Native villages
Suicide rates are more than 10 times higher for Alaska Native youth than for adolescents in the entire United States. More than 6 in 10 of these suicides are completed with firearms, which are common in Alaska (with at least one firearm present in 6 of 10 Alaskan homes, and an estimated 9 of 10 homes in remote Alaskan villages). In a pilot study, these researchers showed that installing gun safes in the homes of village residents substantially improved storage practices there.
This study estimated the prevalence of firearm ownership and of specific firearm storage practices among residents of the Bristol Bay and Yukon-Kuskokwim regions of southwest Alaska. The researchers helped plan and execute a randomized trial of an intervention to improve firearm storage practices among residents of selected villages. This work was supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.