Residents Address Drivers of Health: There’s an App for That

Indiana State Medical Association

For many physicians, it can be difficult to quickly access the right resources to address patients’ five drivers of health (DOH), such as transportation access. In an innovative move to tackle this challenge, the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) developed the ISMA Drive for Five app. This initiative aims to streamline access to essential DOH resources for physicians and their teams.

ISMA collaborated with a range of local organizations to develop a comprehensive selection of resources which can offer patients the help they need. For example, users can quickly refer to Indiana 211, a statewide service to connect residents with local resources, or the Indiana University School of Medicine Adolescent Addiction Access Program, which provides free provider-to-provider consultation for Indiana physicians who are caring for youth ages 17 or younger with substance use disorders. The app also supports physicians and their teams by supplying verified DOH screening tools, as well as billing and coding information for reimbursement through quality payment programs. 

To gauge the impact of ISMA Drive for Five, the association engaged with four local residency programs in internal medicine, emergency medicine and family medicine. These programs participated in an online presentation with internal medicine hospitalist and ISMA DOH Task Force member Anum Niazi, MD, who discussed the impact of DOH in their communities, patient screening requirements, coding and billing requirements and guidance for using ISMA Drive for Five. 

“Addressing DOH is essential for our patients’ health, but the skills to screen for DOH and refer patients to needed resources are not often taught in residency programs,” said Dr. Niazi. “Through our collaboration with residency programs using the ISMA Drive for Five app, we are supporting the next generation of physicians and equipping them with crucial tools to meet their patients’ needs.”

Across the four programs, 30 residents used the app, gaining insights into the importance of DOH and a deeper understanding of screening tools. They reported on quality metrics that included positive DOH markers, the screening tools used and specific resources that were matched with patients. A total of 99 patients were screened, ranging in age from 5 months to 97 years old. Some of the top DOH factors identified among the patients were transportation, housing, food insecurity and financial burden. The residents wrote that they enjoy using the app and feel more prepared and confident when screening patients. Key learnings from this program can also be applied to other groups of physicians. 

This program was made possible by funding from The Physicians Foundation as part of their DOH grant program. Learn more here.

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