Georgia Watch and Augusta University (project co-leads) plan to use this Tier III PCORI funding to solidify the goals of our patient-centered outcomes research focused on the provision of preventative primary care, acute care, chronic care, and chronic disease management services in rural Georgia communities by advanced practice registered nurses. Georgia is the ninth most populous state but currently ranks 49th in the number of primary care physicians per capita. In rural Georgia, several counties have no primary care physician, and another 13 have only one primary care physician serving the entire county. A total of 129 out of Georgia’s 159 counties contain federally designated primary care health professional shortage areas. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory diseases are among the leading causes of death in Georgia. Rural hospital closures are exacerbating our provider access issues. Healthcare access is a critical issue in rural Georgia, and innovative care delivery models using nonphysician providers are being implemented to improve the health of our population.
Georgia Watch is convening a collaborative group of patients, physicians, hospital representatives, clinic-based providers, state agency representatives, academic researchers, state and national professional nursing organizations, healthcare industry business leaders, and consumer advocacy organizations to determine the specifics of a patient-centered research question and proposal for funding. Throughout Tier III, participating stakeholders will come together to finalize our research question, and Augusta University will lead our collaborative in developing a proposal for research funding.