Native Hawaiians between the ages of 19 to 35 are more than five times as likely as non-Hawaiians to be diagnosed with diabetes. Between ages 36 and 64, native Hawaiians have a rate of diabetes that is more than twice that of others.
The HIBC program involves a consortium of organizations and agencies including Hawaii County, the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy, health plans, associations, hospitals, clinics, physicians, and community groups—with CEOs and other top leaders from those organizations actively participating. The HIBC is also working with the Hawaii Health Information Exchange, which includes a regional extension center that will provide technical assistance in achieving meaningful use and qualifying for Medicare or Medicaid incentives, and coordinate efforts among vendors, electronic health record resellers, and consultants.
About 35% of the funds are being spent on helping providers improve the care coordination of patients with chronic disease, 22% is used for health information exchange to achieve a better assessment of the patient and reduce the repeating of information, and 9% for community wellness. For the community wellness component, HIBC has requested applications for mini-grants called HEAL, for Healthy Eating and Active Living, that focus on changing behaviors involving nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco use prevention.
"We've had a tremendous level of interest in the mini-grants," Hunt says. "It's exciting to see that level of interest in making the community healthier."