Unprecedented research and interprofessional education programs drive students and talent toward integrated care teams

New models and research projects from the Humana Institute also explore and test the benefits of evolving integrated care delivery models beyond traditional environments.

The University of Houston and Humana are prioritizing interprofessional education (IPE) as a critical strategy to advance education and development for students and practitioners. Experts agree this method is a means to improve overall quality of care and improve health outcomes.

  • Parallel to nursing students’ experiences working in the field, which often includes visiting patients at home, the university’s recently accredited College of Medicine is creating an integrated care delivery learning model, the Household Centered Care Program. This contemporary model trains inter-disciplinary teams of students in residential environments and prepares future clinicians to provide increasingly common in-home care.
  • Another interprofessional education program, DASH, is a collaborative effort between the UH Data Sciences Institute, Humana Institute, Humana, and the University of Houston Honors College. This integrated effort with cross-functional support is a pipeline initiative to train future clinicians by providing undergraduate students early exposure to data and its uses to inform value based care.
  • Under leadership from Dr. Michael Twa, the Institute is developing and implementing a disruptive strategy for vision screening. Existing Partners in Primary Care Clinics will offer greater patient convenience by using innovative imaging tools to scan for vascular abnormalities during clinic visits, potentially reducing the need for patients to make a special trip to an optometrist and advancing learning for students with real-world patient access.

Initial cross-collaboration research projects from the Humana Institute will generate data to measure the effectiveness of new models in disease management and addressing social determinants of health (SDOH).

  • A research program called Integrated Clinical Pharmacist and Total Cost of Care — conducted by Humana Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy and Partners in Primary Care — works to understand the value of having a pharmacist embedded in a clinic rather than a pharmacy to help manage patients with complex conditions, including CAD/CHF, COPD and diabetes.
  • Food Insecurity Screening Methods is another program the Institute and Humana designed to better understand clinicians’ willingness and processes to screen for food insecurity during appointments. Combined with closed-loop referral platforms, this screening (along with other SDOH screenings) will allow the Institute to study the improvements in health outcomes from a whole-person health focus.