Improved heart health sought through OU research grant

By Katrina Goforth -

The Jackson County Southwest Oklahoma Community Health Improvement Organization or SWOKCHIO, a subcommittee of the Jackson County Community Health Action Team or JCCHAT, met in regular monthly session Thursday at the City of Altus Municipal Complex.

Renae Sexton and Cara Vaught from Healthy Hearts Oklahoma gave a presentation to the subcommittee about increasing access to health care services in Jackson County.

The Healthy Hearts Oklahoma program is facilitated by the University of Oklahoma Department of Clinical and Translational Research through a $15 million research grant that was awarded to the University of Oklahoma and six other grantees.

The project collects data on Oklahoma’s heart health and reports that information on a national level.

According to the Oklahoma Primary Healthcare Improvement Cooperative or OPHIC, heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the U.S.

“Oklahoma was ranked 48th in the nation in heart health,” Sexton said. “This program gives health care providers support toward reaching their goals to increase heart health among patients.”

The program looks at helping primary care practices improve education on the increased effectiveness of aspirin use, blood pressure control of 140/90, cholesterol management to help prevent problems before they arise and emphasizes smoking cessation through the latest research in cardiovascular disease prevention.

“Two hundred and seventy eight practices were recruited with incentives like financial reimbursement through the grant dollars that are available and electronic data support,” Sexton said.

Electronic data support through the health information exchange, MyHealth in Tulsa, collects data to show the overall health status of a practice’s patients for any given ailment, disease, or illness, such as heart disease, diabetes, or stroke. MyHealth connects the participating practices to promote transparency in health care records.

Dr. Jamie Hokett with Integris and private practice physician Dr. Charles Carter are participating in the program.

“There are about 25 practices in the southwest region,” Vaught said. “We get to work with the practices for about a year and visit on a regular basis to provide support as they go along.”

By Katrina Goforth

Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

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