WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United Health Foundation on Thursday announced a new partnership with the Morehouse School of Medicine’s National Center for Primary Care to examine how digital tools could be leveraged to support underserved and rural communities in four Southeastern states. The partnership is funded through a three-year, $1.1 million grant and will support scientific research examining how to make digital health technology more accessible and useful for residents of urban and rural underserved communities across Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The goals of the partnership are:
Improve the understanding of rural and underserved residents’ access to digital programs through their providers;
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Confirm that digital tools (e.g. electronic health records, telemedicine, and wearables like fitbit, etc.) could help address health disparities these residents face; and
Develop an action plan to improve access to digital tools for these communities.
Across the four Southeastern states, Morehouse School of Medicine researchers within the National Center for Primary Care will hold focus groups and conduct individual interviews with local health care providers; survey hundreds of health professionals; and examine Medicaid claims data within each state.
“We can’t think of a better partner than Morehouse School of Medicine. We are honored to learn from their expertise, understanding and ability to build healthier communities,” said Cory B. Alexander, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “This partnership demonstrates the United Health Foundation’s and Morehouse School of Medicine’s shared commitment to pioneering the next generation of digital health solutions that will expand access to care and improve health outcomes for underserved patients and support primary care providers across the Southeast.”
This is the latest partnership between Morehouse School of Medicine and UnitedHealth Group. Morehouse of School of Medicine received a previous grant from the United Health Foundation to help build health systems and technology for a local clinic, and is part of UnitedHealth Group’s partnership with the Atlanta University Center Consortium, along with three other historically Black universities, focused on educating and training the next generation of health analytics workers.
“With $21 million in funding, MSM’s National Center for Primary Care has assisted more than 5,000 primary care providers and rural hospitals in Georgia to adopt and meaningfully use electronic health records,” said Dominick Mack, Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Director, National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine. “Morehouse School of Medicine is uniquely positioned to conduct this research by virtue of our deep roots providing education and technical support for electronic health records, health information exchange and CMS value-based payment initiatives and we look forward to working with the United Health Foundation once again.”