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Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network (InSRHN)

Summary 
  • Need: To improve sustainability and financial viability for rural healthcare providers throughout Indiana.
  • Intervention: A network of rural healthcare providers for Critical Access and other hospitals in Indiana who are dedicated to improving their ability to deliver efficient and high-quality healthcare for their rural residents.
  • Results: The network has been leveraged to increase access to resources, coordinate services, and improve and expand healthcare access.
Description

The Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network (InSRHN) is a network that was established in 2007 with the mission of supporting rural healthcare organizations as they coordinate services, improve and expand healthcare access, and enhance the delivery of healthcare for member hospitals and their communities.

Totaling 29 Critical Access Hospital (CAH) and rural hospital members, InSRHN has maintained financial stability and has grown the corporation by offering fee-for-service technical assistance programs to benefit network members. The InSRHN director received an Outstanding Emerging Network Leader of the Year award from the National Cooperative of Health Networks (NCHN) in 2010 and InSRHN staff are asked to present at national conferences.

InSRHN member hospitals achieve improved operations and services through the networking activities made available to them, including technical resources, information technology, support services, and network business opportunities (group purchasing, email hosting/web design, board education, leadership support, peer review services, remote pharmacy services, and shared services programs).

InSRHN achievements include:

  • Network expansion to include 29 rural healthcare facilities over the past 8 years
  • Executive Peer Discussion Groups
  • Hiring of a certified rural lobbyist to be the “voice” of rural healthcare in Indiana with direct access to the Indiana rural caucus and forums
  • Building capacity to include health coach training and health information technology (HIT) training and certification through Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) grant-funded projects
  • Expansion of the InSRHN Contract Portfolio, providing members an average individual savings of almost $25,000 annually, with some organizations reaching a savings of over $100,000

Roundtables, or peer discussion groups, influence future planning for the network. These statewide meetings, held most often via videoconferencing, offer a chance for peers from member hospitals to collaborate and discuss efficiencies of operations, improvement, obstacles, best practices, trends, and any other topics that may arise.

Working through the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA), initial funding for InSRHN came from a one-year planning grant in 2007 and a subsequent 2008-2011 FORHP Rural Health Network Development grant. Today, sustainability of the network comes primarily through annual membership dues, with a small portion of revenue coming from a revenue stream from shared savings.

Services offered
  • Provide infrastructure for building relationships among rural hospitals
  • Facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources
  • Assist with reducing the feelings of geographic isolation faced by rural hospital administration and staff
  • Help identify and eliminate unneeded duplicative services and technology within the network
  • Identify and promote rural-appropriate best practices
  • Leverage group buying power to reduce expenditures
  • Utilize InSRHN staff to access state resources and other funding sources
  • Host CEO forums, job postings, other pertinent information on rural network website
  • Assist with physician and general healthcare workforce recruitment, including toolkits for human resource departments
Results
  • InSRHN telehealth projects are increasing availability and quality of services to underserved populations, thereby showing an improvement in health outcomes for rural Indiana patients.
  • Videoconferencing, roundtables, and leveraging of group resources have all shown successful results regarding networking, efficiencies, problem-solving, improvement of services, time savings, and cost savings with the ultimate goal of hospital performance improvement.
  • InSRHN has developed a network scorecard that monitors the ROI to members. This scorecard is a proven tool in communicating the effectiveness of network activities and initiatives to boards of directors, members, potential members, and other key stakeholders.
Barriers

While the member organizations certainly valued the networking component of InSRHN early on, members also wanted to see financial value of their participation in the network if they were going to pay annual membership dues. Leveraging group buying power and coordinating services brought in that financial value to network members.

Determining the revenue stream post-grant funding was a challenge. However, since its launch, InSRHN has continued to add members and now offers a discounted rate for healthcare "systems." Furthermore, a number of the InSRHN facilities are embarking on the National Rural ACO (Accountable Care Organization) model with efforts supported by InSRHN staff.

Replication

Both "Bottom Up" and "Top Down" approaches are utilized when securing buy-in. CEOs must have buy-in from their frontline employees, but those employees must also have buy-in from their CEOs.

InSRHN follows a rough plan for all projects implemented:

  • Needs assessment
  • Interest and participation surveys/discussions
  • Signed Memorandum of Understandings by interested members
  • Project planning
  • Evaluation and selection of vendor/service/partner
  • Business plan
  • Project management implementation (be flexible, but goal-oriented)
  • Satisfaction follow-up
  • Data collection and program evaluation
Contact Information
Phil Ellis, Network Director
Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network
812.478.3919 Ext. 226
pellis@indianarha.org
Topics
Critical Access Hospitals
Healthcare business and finance
Healthcare networks
Hospitals
States served
Indiana
Date added
May 30, 2010
Date updated or reviewed
July 31, 2017

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.