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New interactive online tool gives Missourians detailed information about local health resources
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The University of Missouri System has introduced a new tool to connect Missourians to the university system’s health care resources. The UM System Health Care Finder — an interactive, searchable database — maps more than 200 health resources across the state, from a pediatric endocrinology clinic in Kirksville to Tele-Behavioral Health Services in Marble Hill.
“This exciting new effort will help us leverage local partnerships to expand delivery of high-end care in underserved areas,” said Marshall Stewart, UM System chief engagement officer and MU vice chancellor for extension and engagement. “It also supports the UM System’s ambitious health care and engagement projects, such as the NextGen Precision Health Initiative and the Show Me Health and Well Being Initiative.”
As part of UM System Community Connect, the Health Care Finder allows Missourians to search with key words, zip codes and geographic areas to find the health care resources they need. Relevant results will appear on an interactive map containing detailed information about each resource.
In a state ranked 33 out of 50 in health care access and affordability — and 37th in prevention and treatment — the tool makes information about the UM System’s health care services easily searchable and readily available to anyone in need, while also helping health providers and outreach workers see where services are lacking or in greater need.
“Not only does this tool give people valuable information about resources near them that they might not have known about, but it also gives us the information we need to potentially scale our services where needed,” said Kathleen Quinn, senior program director for health and safety with MU Extension and MU School of Medicine associate dean for rural health. “When working with local communities and the other system universities to expand health care access, this tool shows us exactly where the gaps are and what assets we already have that can be harnessed for a greater good.”
The Health Care Finder is still receiving regular additions and updates, and there are plans to add additional layers of detail to the map tool, including local social and economic data and information about health care resources outside the UM System, such as local health departments.
“When it comes to connecting rural and underserved residents with the care they need, we want this tool to be a model for improving health care access and outcomes across the country,” said Mun Choi, UM System president. “Our priority is delivering quality care to every single Missourian, but this approach to transparent and easily accessible information about health services is scalable across the entire country. If communities and health systems work together, then health, economic development and overall prosperity will improve for every resident in Missouri.”