Michigan State Uses Task Force Recommendations in Health Promotion Program for University Employees
Michigan State University (MSU) utilizes the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations in two ways in its campus health promotion program aimed at university employees.
With Healthy People 2010 goals as a framework, MSU's Health Prevention Program focuses on tobacco reduction, healthy nutrition, exercise, and consumer education. MSU staff developed an electronic newsletter called Healthy Email that reaches over 700 people. The newsletter uses the best evidence-based research to answer questions about common health issues. In addition, newsletter articles address questions about the best approach to care for a variety of health concerns.
MSU's program also educates its audience about being informed consumers of health care and the importance of making health decisions based on scientific evidence. With the USPSTF grading system as a model, the Healthy Email newsletter uses graded evidence to teach consumers how best to evaluate claims made for various drugs, procedures, and other health recommendations. At least one insurance company has expressed interest in buying the Healthy Email message program that MSU is licensing.
MSU is also using USPSTF recommendations in working with insurers, benefits designers, unions, and consumers to make medical insurance for students and faculty consistent with USPSTF recommendations. The program also encourages reimbursement decisions about prescription drugs to be based on evidence and quality rather than price.
Beth Alexander, MD, MS, program director and MSU professor in the College of Human Medicine, says, "AHRQ and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force give administrators and health practitioners tools that we can translate into real programs for consumers and providers that help to inform them about evidence-based prevention, and I'm very grateful for that."
The program has a Consumer Advisory Team that includes union members as well as others in the university program. While it has some evaluation data on the first years of the Healthy Email project, there are plans for a more scientific study to take place later.
Located in East Lansing, Michigan, MSU employs 7,000 to 8,000 people.