To keep people well, you have to keep your eye on social determinants of health, such as education, income, transportation, access to nutritious food, and the ability to communicate with caregivers.

Early childhood development programs and integrated care in our clinics are two ways we strive to improve health “upstream.”

Once people do get sick—as we all do from time to time—they need access to the best possible care: care that is proven effective, that draws from the best options medicine is able to offer, and that is tailored for the needs and preferences of each individual patient. Even when the limits of medicine are reached and outcomes are less than hoped for, every patient’s experience should be extraordinarily positive.

At Intermountain, we aspire to provide extraordinary care, in all its dimensions, to our patients. We think holistically and creatively about the care we provide.

One innovation pioneered at Intermountain over the last two decades is our integration of mental health services in our primary care clinics. Mental and behavioral health issues are frequently associated with physical health, so it makes sense to diagnose and treat patients in a holistic way.

Intermountain will continue to look farther and farther “upstream”—before patients get sick—to improve health and prevent illness. We partner with a wide range of community agencies and organizations to do this. For example, we support early childhood development programs, accident prevention campaigns, fitness and nutrition initiatives, and efforts to improve health literacy. Many of the chronic illnesses that challenge our society—diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure—can often be prevented if we work upstream to address their causes.