One of the first ways that I learned about human anatomy was by way of a bright red nose, metal tweezers, and the anxiety of the buzzer in the game “Operation.” My friends and I would hold our breath through each “surgery,” focusing on solving poor Cavity Sam’s ailments. Although we all had our own approaches, together we got all the pieces.
As I reflect on the accomplishments of the Colorado Network of Health Alliances, there are some similarities. This is the third year that CCMU has convened the Network, with the goal of developing a statewide force for health systems change. Essential components within a health alliance are similar to body parts and the role of each leads to collaboration and collective impact within our community—creating a fully functioning body working toward change:
Leadership (The Brain)
Every alliance has a few key community leaders—directors and CEOs who have organized themselves to form a Board of Directors or leadership teams—that set overall strategy, develop goals, and build public will.
Health Alliance (The Backbone)
Alliances help lift up all voices in the community, ensure the right people are at the table, and that partners are held accountable. The alliance monitors and evaluates the community’s landscape to identify opportunities for collaboration.
Implementers (The Arms)
The strategies developed by leadership and managed by health alliances are implemented through action teams, work groups, committees, and paid staff. These entities develop implementation tactics and act as primary drivers for action in the community.
Funding (The Nerves)
Reliable, sustainable funding is critical for alliance success. Foundation grants, membership dues, and fee-for-service programs support alliances’ work and foster key relationships, set agendas, and remove logistical barriers.
Today we are excited to share our annual report on the Network and its members’ accomplishments: Progress & Possibilities (PDF). 2015 was an important year for the Network, as it decided to move beyond a shared learning collaborative to a formalized membership association working toward a common agenda. The 24 member alliances worked on targeting high utilizers of the health care system, specialty care referral networks, and overcoming financial hardships.
Just like in Operation, every part of the alliance contributes to the health of the whole. Together with all parts of a health alliance, we continue to refine our approach to ensure broad understanding and agreement on collective tactics moving forward in 2016. We hope you’ll learn more about the impact that the Colorado Network of Health Alliances is making in Colorado’s communities and get involved in an alliance near you.