Saif Khairat highlights cross-sector telemedicine partnership at NC Learning Forum

Saif Khairat, PhD, MPH, associate professor at the UNC School of Nursing, recently delivered a talk at the Learning Forum organized by the North Carolina Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP). The event aimed to explore collaboration opportunities among government, research, and philanthropy sectors, highlighting initiatives like Khairat’s cross-sector partnership on telemedicine.

Governor Roy Cooper and Dr. Saif Khairat

Khairat emphasized a successful collaboration between the NC Department of Public Safety (DPS), UNC Health, and UNC at Chapel Hill, which implemented telemedicine in 55 NC prison facilities to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and provide specialty care to incarcerated populations. This groundbreaking initiative not only saved DPS approximately $1.1 million and 80,000 hours in transportation within the first year, but it also received high satisfaction ratings from patients and providers.

Director Jenni Owen of the NC Office of Strategic Partnerships, who organized the Learning Forum, expressed the organization’s commitment to fostering and promoting cross-sector partnerships for evidence-based decision making. “We work to develop, launch, and sustain government-research and government-philanthropy partnerships and to widely share opportunities for such partnerships. A theme throughout this work is the focus on enhancing and increasing the use of research evidence for government decision making,” she said.

During the event, Khairat had the opportunity to meet with Governor Roy Cooper to discuss the significance of ongoing digital health efforts in enhancing health outcomes, improving access for North Carolinians, and addressing current workforce challenges.

More information about Khairat’s telemedicine project can be found here.