Mass General Brigham and Mount Auburn Hospital, part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, announced that they are launching a collaboration to develop and operationalize a sustainable, multi-lingual, patient-centric virtual care intervention. The new ADVOCATE (Advancing Digital and Virtual Opportunities for Care Access Translates to Equity) virtual care initiative will identify barriers to digital health care among diverse populations, design better digital tools to address these barriers, validate the use of multi-lingual educational resources for patients (e.g., videos, tip sheets), and measure adoption of these resources in actual patient populations.
"Our goal is to bridge the digital divide and create a library of multi-lingual patient resources and a best practice toolkit for healthcare providers, which we will share with other healthcare organizations to overcome barriers to virtual care,” says Lee H. Schwamm, MD, Vice President for Virtual Care at Mass General Brigham. “We are pleased to be collaborating with Mount Auburn Hospital as well as clinicians, researchers, patients, advocates and community-based organizations, including digital literacy experts at Tech Goes Home, in order to narrow these health disparities and be true to our virtual care mission: For every patient, enabling reliable access to world-class healthcare whenever, wherever and however it is needed.”
An Advisory Committee will include local, regional, and national virtual care experts in community health, applied disparities research and health equity, virtual care, and virtual connectedness, as well as providers, patients, community leaders, accessibility and disparities experts, and other health systems and industry partners, to help identify solutions to obstacles encountered by historically underserved patient populations.
“Mount Auburn Hospital is delighted to collaborate with Mass General Brigham to identify challenges in delivery of virtual care in the community hospital setting,” says Yvonne Cheung, MD, Chief Quality Officer and Vice President and Chair of Quality and Safety at Mount Auburn Hospital, who also serves as Associate Medical Director for the CRICO Academic Medical Center - Patient Safety Organization. “Together we hope to develop a best practice strategic approach to improve access and close the gap for patients with health care disparities due to language barriers or limited digital literacy.”
This comprehensive, two-year initiative is funded by a grant from CRICO, a recognized leader in evidence-based risk management, owned by and serving the Harvard medical community.
This announcement comes on the heels of several Mass General Brigham United Against Racism initiatives that have begun distributing over 2,000 computer tablets to eligible patients, among other digital access tools. Both the ADVOCATE initiative and the United Against Racism programs aim to better identify disparities, close existing gaps, and prevent future disparities from taking root. The Mass General Brigham system is committed to assessing community needs, supporting the expansion of a multi-lingual tools, and providing patients access to digital technologies.
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