The Institute of Health Care Improvement has funded a grant of $30,000 to Medical College of Georgia Center for Patient and Family Centered Care to understand the usefulness of online information systemhas received a $30,000 grant to determine whether an online information system woulc be helpulf for managing multiple sclerosis patients . MCG was among 60 institutions invited to apply and the 20 selected for support from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program. MCG and the MCG Health System will test the efficacy of a software system that gives patients direct access to information about their medical condition, including their medical record and prescription drugs, and enables private e-mail correspondence with physicians.
Patrica Sodomka, MCG said, "We evaluated where our best opportunity was for really testing the goals of collaborative self-management support in our existing programs and that is when the multiple sclerosis patients surfaced as an ideal opportunity for this grant proposal." She added, "We already have a lot of experience with the involvement of these patients and families in quality improvement initiatives and as an example, the MS Patient Advisory Council was established five years ago to help make the MCG Health System's facilities and treatment approach more patient- and family-friendly.
Patient advisors from several patient advisory groups at MCG Medical Center helped develop the project proposal and will help critique it, which will provide qualitative feedback on project efficacy at three-month intervals. The Stanford Patient Education Research Center's Self Efficacy for Managing Chronic Disease 6-Item Scale also will be used every three months to compare the progress of patients who use My HealthLink to those who don't.
Professor Sodomka said, "I think people are coming to the conclusion that the idea that we should be totally dependent as individuals on clinicians or the health care system doesn't really work. It's expensive and it may not produce the best quality because we have internal capabilities to take care of ourselves. That is the patient-centered part of this. It's about empowerment of individuals for their own health and well-being. We are grateful for the support of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in helping us explore this potential."