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Residents in smaller communities face a variety of challenges when trying to access health care, including geographical barriers, fewer providers and specialists as well as rising costs. This is compounded by the fact that chronic illnesses are statistically more common in these areas with aging populations.

These are trends that are expected to grow. OSF is tackling these issues now with the creation of a new model for smaller community health care. The venture, launched in Streator, Illinois, seeks different ways to provide care in smaller communities and aims to increase the overall health of these populations.

The OSF Center for Health in Streator is being transformed into a hub that not only takes care of the physical health of individuals, but endeavors to positively shape the environment, social and economic status and lifestyle choices of the entire community. The organization is enlisting a variety of community-based organizations to co-locate within the Center for Health, making the facility a convenient space for health and wellness needs.

OSF is utilizing software developed by Piece Technologies, a part of the OSF Ventures portfolio, to bridge the information gap that is typically prevalent among social service organizations and health care providers. Community-based groups and OSF will have the ability to better communicate about patients' well-being and intervene sooner in their health care.

Another technology being implemented within the Streator Center for Health is called Patient Wisdom. The online platform takes a deeper dive into patients’ lives by asking questions about their joys, struggles, what they wish their doctor would talk about and what concerns they may have. The idea is to collect this information community-wide to identify common issues our patients face, allowing us to better address the primary needs of the Streator community.

It’s our overall goal to make it easier for individuals and families to lead healthy lives and create an affordable, sustainable health care delivery system for smaller communities. We believe our work in Streator will lead to a model of health care that can be deployed not only in smaller communities within our health care system, but the world.