Tulsa Campus Gets Big Role in University of Oklahoma's $20.3 Million Grant Project

Sep 24, 2013

OU's Tulsa School of Community Medicine will contribute a medical informatics system it's developed to the university's federally funded programs to help the medically underserved. Dr. David Kendrick is the head of the department and says applied data can help improve patient and community health outcomes.
Credit OU Tulsa School of Community Medicine

Medical informatics is a relatively new field, but it's why OU Tulsa will have a big role in the University of Oklahoma's project to help the state's medically underserved, which recently won a four-year, $20.3 million federal grant.

OU Tulsa's School of Community Medicine began developing a medical informatics system in 2008, getting some funding help from a state grant. 

In the last five years, the system has developed to the point that it can be shared outside of Tulsa.

Informatics is more than just electronic medical records. It uses data to help doctors tailor care to individual patients.

"People in the community are well aware of when their car needs an oil change. Either their car tells them or the dealer calls them," said Dr. David Kendrick, chief of medical informatics at OU Tulsa's School of Community Medicine. "But somehow, we are unable to tell patients when they are overdue for tests or treatment in a reliable way."

When it comes to helping the medically underserved, informatics can also help on a community level.

"We can make better use of those limited resources we have for better care, for transportation, for medicine, surgeries, and make sure that those who really need it most are getting it," said Kendrick.

While the system will help medical professionals, it could also create new jobs for workers in the information technology industry.