Arkansas QIO Works with Libraries to Improve Patrons’ Health Literacy and Heart Health

As part of its work to improve cardiovascular health and health literacy in the Arkansas Delta, AFMC – the Quality Improvement Organization for Arkansas through July 2014* – partnered with seven public libraries to create health hubs in the libraries.

With assistance from AFMC:

  • The participating libraries hosted Heart Health 101 events and other health-focused learning sessions for patrons, including free health screenings.
  • Three libraries were selected to receive blood pressure monitors from the Arkansas Department of Health and set up permanent blood pressure stations.
  • The libraries created displays featuring books about healthy eating and heart health.
  • Three libraries incorporated the Million Hearts initiative in their summer reading programs. 
  • The libraries provided free health tools for patrons, such as a blood pressure wallet card from AFMC.

The libraries embraced the partnership, which began in July 2012 and ran through July 2014. In the three libraries with blood pressure stations, librarians took an active role in encouraging patrons to use the monitors.

Some of the positive results of the program included:

  • An increase in the check-out rate for health-related books the librarians say would otherwise stay on the shelf.
  • A patron of a library in Dumas brought her 85-year-old mother, Gracie, to the library to check her blood pressure because she wasn’t feeling well. The monitor showed Gracie’s blood pressure was very high, and the librarian encouraged Gracie to follow up with her physician. Gracie’s blood pressure medication was adjusted and her blood pressure is now under control.

View an AFMC video profiling several of the libraries’ individual efforts to promote heart health here.

*In spring of 2014, CMS determined to separate the consumer type protection activities – case review, beneficiary complaint and appeals – from the quality improvement work for the QIO program going forward.  As of August 1, Arkansas is represented by two Quality Improvement Organizations. TMF Health Quality Institute has partnered with the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, Primaris in Missouri and the Quality Improvement Professional Research Organization, Inc. in Puerto Rico to form the TMF Quality Innovation Network Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) to provide quality improvement work throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and Texas. Beneficiary and family centered care services are now provided by KEPRO.