A consortium of universities has received a $1 million dollar grant from the federal government to make electronic health records more securely and widely shared online.

Emory University will serve as the lead institution managing the grant money from the National Science Foundation whose purpose is to design and construct a patient-focused and personalized health system that addresses the currently fractured structure of healthcare information.

The consortium also includes two campuses of the University of Texas, Southwestern and Dallas; Morehouse School of Medicine; Georgia Tech; West Virginia University; the University of Virginia and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The purpose of the project is to make better use of the mobile web, mobile healthcare apps, wearables and social media to build a more universal and secure healthcare infrastructure that can collect and share medical records more easily.

Simply put, the integration of patients sensor-based data with clinical data from electronic health records will enable improvements in diagnosis, monitoring and care coordination between patients and providers, says Indranil Bardhan, professor of information systems in the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas Dallas and a project researcher. The goal is to develop new ways to improve patient engagement and health outcomes.

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Deadlines for project completion have yet to be announced. But the first leg of the research will focus on using and sharing data gathered through mobile and wearable devices and social media to create more comprehensive patient histories of African-Americans and Latinos diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and develop better care and communication tools for clinicians and patients.

Successful completion of this project will allow us to accelerate progress toward addressing societal challenges related to addressing health disparities, health care access and precision medicine; improving care coordination, longitudinal health record creation and cohort tracking; and creating a system to enable closed-loop feedback once the patient is discharged, Bardhan says.

The $1 million grant to the university consortium is part of $10 million National Science Foundation grant program to research, build and implement a more universally accessible electronic medical record.

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