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Methodist Healthcare Foundation seeks to implement a research-driven assessment of the religious and spiritual (R/S) identity of patients served by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH).

A 103-year-old, faith-based healthcare system, MLH serves a complex patient population from Shelby County, including Memphis, TN, and surrounding communities in west Tennessee, north Mississippi, and east Arkansas. MLH patients are diverse in age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religious affiliation. Despite this, 97% of inpatients indicate a religious affiliation, a statistic that is recorded within the Electronic Medical Record (EMR).

Based on this commonality, an enhanced analysis of their R/S identities can deepen our understanding of the connection and impact of R/S on health, as well as drive care delivery improvements. Additionally, potential findings will contribute new knowledge to the broader healthcare community on the impact of R/S on patient experience and outcomes.

With the Templeton Foundation’s support, Methodist Healthcare Foundation, MLH, and our academic partner, Dr. Brook Harmon from Appalachian State University, will implement a research-driven assessment of the R/S identity of 1,000 or more patients who are hospitalized at Methodist North and Methodist University Hospitals.

During the two-year project, MLH will deploy two Outreach Coordinators who will implement the Duke University Religion Index (DUREL) followed by a two-part open-ended prompt. The results of the survey and narrative responses will be entered into the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Dr. Harmon will lead an evaluation of findings with a focus on identifying associations between R/S identity and patient healthcare experience and health outcomes. The project will conclude with the production of manuscripts, presentations, and other dissemination efforts.