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Published on August 05, 2021

Mount Auburn Hospital launches collaborative effort with Mass General Brigham to develop more equitable virtual care models

Hospitals focused on better understanding community needs

Cambridge, Mass. – Mount Auburn Hospital, part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, and Mass General Brigham, today announced they are launching a collaboration to develop and operationalize a sustainable, multi-lingual, patient-centric virtual care intervention. The new Advancing Digital and Virtual Opportunities for Care Access Translates to Equity (ADVOCATE) virtual care initiative will identify barriers to digital health care among diverse populations, design better digital tools to address those 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.

"Mount Auburn Hospital is delighted to collaborate with Mass General Brigham to identify challenges in delivery of virtual care in the community hospital setting," said 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."

The ADVOCATE 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.

This comprehensive, two-year initiative is funded by a grant from CRICO, a recognized leader in evidence-based risk management that serves the Harvard medical community.

"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," said 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."

About Mount Auburn Hospital

Mount Auburn Hospital was founded in 1886. A teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, its mission is to provide clinically excellent care with compassion and to teach students of medicine and the health professions.

Mount Auburn Hospital is a member of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,000 physicians and 35,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education. For more information, visit www.bilh.org.

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