November 8, 2023
OCHIN has received its first Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the prime recipient. The $3.5 million, five-year DEDICATE project (advancing care management adoption in community health centers) will address social risk screening and intervention by testing the support that health centers need to effectively use new technologies to connect patients with social risks to supportive community resources. While OCHIN has partnered on many NIH R01 grants before, this is the first that OCHIN is leading.
A growing body of research indicates a connection between our physical health and social risk factors, such as food insecurity, housing instability, or lack of transportation. Community-based health care providers strive to help their patients manage or mitigate these risk factors, but they face systemic barriers to offering seamless whole-patient care.
Nicole Cook, PhD, MPA, an investigator at OCHIN and co-principal investigator of DEDICATE, explains that electronic health record systems (EHRs) are often not tailored or optimized to help providers coordinate care and manage patients’ social risks.
“I’ve seen over and over again that even when we have the absolute best care management teams in the world, and EHR tools could help if adopted, there can still be major time and resource barriers to connecting patients with social services,” said Cook. “With DEDICATE, I am really excited to test how the implementation support services that OCHIN can provide can help address some of the technology challenges that care managers experience when coordinating services to address patients’ social needs.”
Co-led by Rachel Gold, PhD, MPH, OCHIN’s director of implementation science programs, the DEDICATE team will partner with OCHIN Epic member clinics. Leveraging nearly a decade of social risk research and practice-based experience, and the more than 2 million EHR-based social risk screenings conducted thus far over 1 million unique patients nationwide, OCHIN’s research team will:
- Identify barriers to health centers’ use of EHR-based care management functions
- Partner with community stakeholders to refine implementation strategies to optimize their potential to support health centers’ use of Compass Rose, an application in OCHIN Epic that is designed to support care management
- Conduct a trial of whether the refined strategies improved use of Compass Rose to make connections between patients with social risks and community resources
OCHIN research associates serving as co-investigators on the project include:
This is the first prime R01 award that OCHIN has received from NIH and its second prime R01 award overall. OCHIN’s first-ever prime R01 award was for the EVERYWOMAN study, in which a women-led study team at OCHIN was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to examine the essential role that community health centers play in connecting women to reproductive health care.
To learn more about DEDICATE and its funding, visit NIH’s website.