In an effort to better serve their patients, the Community Care Clinic of Rowan partnered with the Healthy Rowan Coalition in the spring of 2018. Healthy Rowan is a collaboration of over 25 organizations dedicated to improving health outcomes in Rowan County. The coalition was awarded a three-year grant through The Duke Endowment’s Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas initiative. The funding is directed to support coalition capacity building and address chronic disease and obesity through initiatives such as Exercise is Medicine (EIM).
Through this partnership, Healthy Rowan worked with Community Care Clinic of Rowan to adopt parts of the EIM Solution. Clinic leadership and medical staff received training on assessing patient physical activity levels, providing physical activity counselling and connecting patients to free and/or low-cost physical activity resources such as parks and school tracks that Healthy Rowan had identified throughout the county. Medical Director, Dr. Amy Wilson, says, “It is infinitely rewarding to see patients actually reversing their disease processes through individually tailored lifestyle interventions.”
An evaluation of medical records between September 2018 and September 2019 revealed that the Community Care Clinic of Rowan served 1,337 unduplicated patients over the course of 1,885 medical based visits. These numbers are lower than traditionally experienced by the clinic due to renovations. During this time, 57% (n=760) of patients had their physical activity vital sign recorded in the electronic health record, and of those, 97% (n=735) discussed physical activity with their healthcare provider and received a written exercise prescription. Patients with emergency room follow-up or sick visits (43%) did not participate in the EIM prescription program.
In addition, 61 patients had second visits and of those, 42% experienced a reduction in their BMI, 41% lowered cholesterol levels, 36% lowered blood pressure, and 16% reduced A1C levels. Across these patients, an average weight loss of 7.8 pounds was observed, a remarkable feat considering that most adults experience weight gain over time and that the greatest levels of overweight and obesity are often observed in underserved populations. Lastly 33% of patients increased their total number of physical activity minutes as indicated by PAVS follow-up data.
The efforts made by the Community Care Clinic of Rowan, with assistance from Healthy Rowan, demonstrate how critical the promotion of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle can be in positively impacting the health of our uninsured and underserved populations!