Through two collaborative projects, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas will examine the impacts of mental health conditions going untreated in East Texas and develop a doctoral program to train healthcare professionals in population health.
The first project will explore the development of a doctoral program in health administration to improve how population health issues are addressed amongst those in the healthcare field, according to a news release from UT Health Science Center at Tyler.
Population health is considered the health outcomes of a group of people and how those outcomes are distributed among the group. These outcomes are a result of health inputs, such as genetics, public health, behaviors, social and environmental factors and the distribution of disparities, according to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
“The opportunity to collaborate with another healthcare leader to provide additional educational opportunities and lower the cost of healthcare is at the core of our mission,” UT Health Science Center at Tyler President Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun said in a statement released by the health center. “This monumental collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas carries a tremendous benefit for this region and beyond. Combining our expertise, we will work together to address these emerging issues to ensure healthcare is more effective and more affordable for everyone.”
The doctoral program will work with the payor, provider and academic sides of healthcare administration for better idea sharing and innovation.
For the second project, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will fund a research grant at the health science center to study the long- and short-term costs for individuals dealing with behavioral health issues and work toward reducing the costs, the release stated.
The three-year grant will dedicate the first year to looking at the large population and gathering data points. The focus of the other two years will be addressing identified gaps and discovering solutions, according to the health science center.
“Failure to address access and affordability of health care has real consequences. We need to challenge the status quo by bringing transformative research and ideas to the table,” Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas President Dr. Dan McCoy said. “By collaborating with a diverse set of institutions and researchers, such as UTHSCT, who are embedded in and understand the communities we’re serving, we can better identify and develop solutions that tackle high healthcare costs at its foundation.”
As a part of the looking into the root causes of an expensive healthcare system, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will also be partnering with other research institutions to examine challenges within healthcare, including vaccine adherence, better access to education for medical professionals and behavioral health, according to the release.