Last month, the United Health Foundation 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;
- 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 healthcare providers; survey hundreds of health professionals; and examine Medicaid claims data within each state.