The Institute for Disability Studies, Mississippi's
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities,
at The University of Southern Mississippi has received a $200,000
one-year planning grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services to promote the use of health information technology (HIT).
Awarded through HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
(AHRQ), this program builds on President Bush's initiative to use
HIT to improve the nation's health care system.
IDS' Project CONNECT (Creating Online NICU Networks
to Educate, Consult and Team) will develop, implement, and evaluate
a cooperative effort using HIT to facilitate a continuum of appropriate
medical and developmental care from the time infants are admitted
to Neonatal Intensive Care Units through the transition process
to community-based health care services for infants most at risk
for long-term neurodevelopmental problems. The project works in
collaboration with Forrest General Hospital and Memorial Hospital
According to Dr. Jane Siders, director of the institute,
"Funding for Project CONNECT is the result of multiple years
of collaboration with Forrest General Hospital and Southern Neonatology
Group to develop and refine developmental care procedures for premature
and high risk-infants admitted to the NICU."
Project CONNECT will build on the successes of the
Developmental Care Program at Forrest General Hospital which has
been implemented by the NICU staff at FGH including neonatologists
Dr. Clint White, Dr. Randall Henderson, and Dr. Kerry Stewart of
Southern Mississippi Neonatology, in collaboration with Terri Daniels,
developmental care specialist at the Institute for Disability Studies.
Memorial Hospital in Gulfport will also participate
in the research and will serve as a training site for testing the
use of peer-to-peer technology for sharing developmental care practices
between medical staff.
The purpose of Project CONNECT is to develop a plan
to use technology to provide technical assistance and training to
other NICUs across the state. In addition, technology will be used
to better inform community health providers of an infant's status
upon transition from the NICU, thus improving follow-up health and
developmental care. After the formation of a multi-organizational
plan, IDS will be eligible to apply for implementation funds from
IDS provides university training, community service
activities, research, and information that promote the independence,
productivity, and community inclusion of individuals with disabilities
and their families. For more information about IDS, visit www.usm.edu/ids
or call 1-888-671-0051 (TTY).