The objective of this study was to demonstrate the value of a planning model for the design and evaluation of community health services.
The health status of Washtenaw County, Michigan was modeled. Data were obtained from the Michigan Department of Public Health, Medstat Systems, and the medical literature for 32 diseases or conditions, representing approximately 85% of causes of death and 56% of medical payments (excluding medication costs). An expanded life-table approach was used for 16 age- and sex-matched cohorts exposed to a disease attack rate, access-to-care rate, case fatality rate, morbidity, and costs. Rates could be modified to reflect changes due to treatment, secular trends, or prevention programs. Two alternative delivery methods were considered to show the potential impact of reducing cardiovascular deaths (worksite initiative), or increasing utilization of services (lay health promotion) on county health status and costs over time.
Deaths, bed days, and annual medical payments were the main outcome measurements.
Cardiovascular and cancer conditions are and will be the primary causes of death in this population. The most important causes of bed days are musculoskeletal conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, accidents, strokes, and depression. The major health-care payments are for angina pectoris and/or other cardiac conditions, musculoskeletal conditions, accidents, prenatal care and/or childbirth, and depression. The two alternative scenarios illustrate how reductions in mortality are not necessarily equated with similar improvements in morbidity or costs.
This model presents an overview of the current and projected health status of a community. With such a planning tool, a community can better understand the impact of potential prevention or intervention programs, and help design its health-care system within the constraints of available resources.
*From the Department of Medicine, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
†From the Department of Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
‡From the School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Address correspondence to: Mark E. Cowen, MD, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, PO Box 992, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.