Leveraging Health Information Technology (Health IT) to Address Minority Health and Health Disparities

Faculty Grants

There is a clear and immediate possibility to collaborate with the Purdue Health Associates, an intervention and social support unit associate with Purdue, to apply for a major NIH grant. If you are interested in any of the issues mentioned below, please contact jparsch@purdue.edu Leveraging Health Information Technology (Health IT) to Address Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01 Clinical Trial Optional).

View Program Website: grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-19-093.html

Sponsors: National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human

Services Deadlines: Letter of Intent (Optional): Feb 4, 2020; Application: Mar 4, 2020. Amount of funding: Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The maximum project period is 5 years. Eligibility: Eligible applicants include: Higher education institutions…etc.

This program provides funding for research that examines how health information technology adoption impacts minority health and health disparity populations in access to care, quality of care, patient engagement, and health outcomes.

Specific areas of research interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementation models of delivering clinical decision support in diverse settings (such as small, rural, safety net clinics) and the usability of these tools in reducing disparities in quality of care and outcomes
  • Multi-level interventions that leverage health IT to improve the care of complex chronic diseases in diverse primary care settings
  • Implementation models of leveraging health IT for quality improvement in less resourced primary care practices that serve health disparity populations
  • Interventions that address the health literacy demands of electronic health records driven conversations on shared decision making and the health outcomes of patients in safety net clinics
  • Disparities in adoption rates of patient portals especially among older minority users, rural residents, low-income patients, persons with low English proficiency and/or limited health literacy, and racial/ethnic minority patients

Projects should include a focus on one or more NIH-designated health disparity populations, which include:

  • Blacks/African Americans
  • Hispanics/Latinos
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • Asians, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders
  • Socioeconomically disadvantaged populations of any race · Underserved rural populations
  • Sexual and gender minorities

Implications for LA: Of the limited studies, the findings, for example, indicate that health IT investment can reduce disparities in process of care and care standardization. Additionally, attention to unintended consequences associated with the use of health IT needs to be monitored to ensure health disparities are not inadvertently exacerbated. Research is needed to investigate the potential unintended consequences of health technologies such as, impact on clinician-patient communication in general and with vulnerable patients in particular, barriers that prevent the uptake and engagement with EHRs and PHRs by medically underserved patients, effective approaches and models to deliver CDS in safety net clinical settings, and the best models for the inclusion and utility of SDoH in EHR systems/CDS tools that will have the most effect of improving health equity for racial and ethnic populations. Research is needed to explore the potential of decision support tools, and new technologies such as artificial intelligence and natural language processing on EHR platforms, to improve health outcomes for complex chronic diseases . Limited studies exist that investigate RA outcome improvements via EHR interventions in clinical care in diverse settings. Primary care EHR data and CDS tools to improve the uptake of COPD guidelines also warrants further investigation to determine the practice patterns most effective for disease management in diverse primary care settings. Implementation models that leverage health IT to manage the health outcomes of vulnerable patients who have received solid organ transplants in partnership with transplant specialists are also needed. Health IT and Patient-Clinician Communication: The complexities of patient-clinician communication in the era of EHRs will also need to be evaluated with ethnically diverse vulnerable populations with chronic disease since communication barriers during medical encounters may further augment health disparities via decreased patient participation in shared decision making. Additionally, changes such as information overload, documentation burden, and stress that EHRs bring to relationships – between patients and clinicians or between clinicians – warrant further investigation in the context of minority health and health disparity populations. Patients of safety net clinics often face challenges of limited digital and health literacy, and/or English proficiency, that impede their usability of patient portals. This disparity in usability of patient health portals raises the concern that a “digital divide” may exclude the most vulnerable patients from the benefits of portal use. The issue of a “digital divide” will also need to be investigated in other specialty settings such as oncology to determine how patients from vulnerable populations access incoming portal data.

  • The unintended negative effects of EHR use on patient – clinician & clinician-clinician communication , relationships, and health outcomes and the impact on underserved health disparity populations;
  • Interventions that address the health literacy demands of EHR driven conversations on shared decision making and the health outcomes of patients in safety net clinics ;
  • Disparities in adoption rates of patient portals/PHRs especially among older minority users, rural residents, low-income patients, persons with LEP and/or limited health literacy, and racial/ethnic minority patients;
  • The types of interventions/personalization needed to foster patient engagement of patient portals/PHRs in a sustained and relevant way for underserved populations
  • Advance human-centered design methodologies to develop multilevel communication tools to translate, transcribe and analyze patient information into digital platforms.

Studies may include examination of implementation and systems integration of digital health technologies within existing health care workflows and home/community settings and organizational and policy impact.

Contact

Jeanine S. Parsch, MA, APR Managing Advisor-Communications & Marketing Purdue Healthcare Advisors | Purdue University (765) 337-7047 (mobile) | jeanine@purdue.eduwww.pha.purdue.edu

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