The United Health Foundation awarded a three-year grant to Morehouse School of Medicine to study how to improve access to digital tools for underserved and rural communities. The $1.1 million grant will support scientific research examining provider utilization of, and patient engagement with, digital technologies for managing diabetes, maternal mortality and transitional case management, including preventable readmissions, in urban and rural underserved communities across Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The three goals of the partnership are:
- Improve the understanding of rural and underserved patients’ access to digital programs through their providers.
- Confirm that digital tools could help address health disparities facing these patient populations.
- Develop evidence-based interventions and an action plan to improve access to digital tools in underserved communities.
Morehouse School of Medicine researchers will hold focus groups and conduct individual interviews with key stakeholders across all four states; 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 not the first time Morehouse School of Medicine and UnitedHealth Group have partnered. Morehouse School of Medicine received a previous grant from the United Health Foundation to enhance care in Georgia.
“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 Dominic 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.”
About Morehouse School of Medicine
Morehouse School of Medicine is among the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians with a mission to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities; increase the diversity of the health professional and scientific workforce; and address primary health care through programs in education, research and service, with an emphasis on people of color and underserved urban and rural populations. Learn more about the partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine.