Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Missouri Attracts Funding

The University of Missouri (MU) received a grant for $13.3 million to combine advanced technology with education to find new ways to provide high-tech high-touch care. The funding obtained through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation award program will create a program called “Leveraging Information Technology to Guide High Tech, High Touch Care (LIGHT2).

The high-tech component of LIGHT2 resulted from MU’s partnership with Cerner Corporation. Initially, MU and Cerner formed the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation in 2009 to produce innovations in health care.

MU and the Tiger Institute are going to create a comprehensive technology suite to empower patients with information so they will be able to proactively manage their care and providers will be able to continuously improve their care delivery.

More advanced EHRs will make it easier for providers to monitor the status of individual patients as well as groups of patients. Patients will be able to access their own records and receive information to help them engage in their own healthcare. Patients will receive reminders about preventive screenings and medication adherence, and be able to use online education modules to better manage their individual health conditions.

The high touch component of LIGHT2 will develop a specialized workforce that will be deployed in the primary care setting. This new workforce will be made up of healthcare coordinators and Health Information Analysts (HIA).

The HIA role is a new and innovative type of healthcare worker who will focus directly on the health status and care needs for a specific patient population. HIAs will use LIGHT2 to mine data to address the healthcare needs of their assigned patient population.

LIGHT2 will initially serve nearly 10,000 Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who receive primary care at MU. Through support for disease self-management, improved delivery system design, focusing on preventive care, and better decision-making tools, LIGHT2 is expected to save $17 million in healthcare costs over the next three years plus train an estimated 420 workers.

“The high tech component will give patients and providers new information technology for improving the health of individuals as well as entire populations, such as groups of patients with chronic illnesses”, said Jerry Parker, PhD, Director of LIGHT2 and Associate Dean for Research at the MU School of Medicine.

Also in the state, Governor Nixon’s administration awarded $200,000 to Mercy Research and Development part of Mercy Health located in Springfield to help entrepreneurs launch more start-up biomedical businesses. The grant awarded from the Missouri Technology Corporation’s Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity program will help entrepreneurs create and launch biomedical device companies.

Mercy Research and Development has 24 medical devices currently in development. These devices range from a safety shield to protect healthcare workers from accidental needle sticks to the “Graft on Skin and Tissue Applicator”, which helps to make skin grafting easier.