The Washington State Department of Health recently released the 2018 Washington State Health Assessment report. Data shows that Washington State has similar or better health outcomes compared to the rest of the country in many key areas. While this is encouraging, it is important to note that our state continues to see disparities in outcomes related to childhood immunization, diabetes, drug and alcohol abuse, health care access, healthy lifestyle (healthy weight, physical activity and tobacco use), homelessness, mental health and breast cancer.
Each of these disparities can be costly to our hospitals and clinics, as providers work to help patients overcome complications and achieve health and wellness. The burden is significant to patients, and can affect productivity and employment, cause financial hardship and potentially decrease lifespan.
The state will work with stakeholders and communities to develop the next State Health Improvement Plan to address these priority health issues. For more information on how you can help inform this work, contact your local health jurisdiction or accountable community of health, or DOH. (Lisa Segerstrom)