WisBusiness, WisPolitics Health Care Report July 21

WisBusiness, WisPolitics Health Care Report July 21

Researchers at UW-Madison are creating a data tool to improve COVID-19 vaccine access, with a goal of surmounting economic and social health disparities. 

A release from the university shows that federal officials have relied on mathematical modeling to make decisions on vaccine allocation. But researchers in UW-Madison’s computer sciences and information technology departments say those models fail to fully account for factors such as unequal access to care, gaps in education and income, and discrimination.

“There’s a missing step between the mathematics and the reality,” says Michael Ferris, John P. Morgridge Professor of Computer Sciences at the UW-Madison School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences. “You can solve problems with mathematics up to the last mile, but at that point behavior, communication and socioeconomic issues become critical.”

Ferris is working with Corey Jackson, assistant professor at the UW-Madison Information School in the CDIS, on a “vaccine fairness recommendation engine.” Their goal is to broadly increase vaccination rates by informing the work of state health officials.

The two researchers are studying the equity of vaccine allocations this summer by assessing whether “socially vulnerable” geographic areas — as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — are getting their fair share of the vaccines. They will also see if interventions such as mobile vaccine units are improving vaccination rates in areas where rates are low.

Milwaukee-based Children’s Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin have announced a 30-year extension of their partnership. 

MCW and Children’s Wisconsin have partnered on the Children’s Specialty Group practice for the past 20 years. More than 650 participating doctors make this the largest pediatric-focused medical group in the state, the release shows.

Starting in July, the CSG practice will be consolidated with Children’s Wisconsin. Under the newly renewed agreement, the organizations plan to implement “initial enhancements” over the next 18 to 36 months to improve research efforts and drive growth.