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Rural Health Information Hub

Rural Project Examples: Emergency department and urgent care services

Effective Examples

Midcoast Maine Prescription Opioid Reduction Program

Updated/reviewed May 2020

  • Need: Reduction in the number of emergency department dental patients abusing opioid prescriptions in rural southeastern Maine.
  • Intervention: Using a one-page opioid prescription guideline, opioid prescribing and emergency room visits for dental pain decreased.
  • Results: The rate of opioid prescription dropped nearly 20% after implementation, and in comparing the 12-month period before and after implementation, dental pain emergency department visits decreased from 26 to 21 per 1,000.

Other Project Examples

HCC of Lafayette County's Heath Information Technology Workgroup

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed December 2023

  • Need: To ensure the quality and sustainability of rural West Central Missouri's health services through the use of technology.
  • Intervention: The Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County convened a Health Information Technology (HIT) workgroup to establish electronic medical and prescription records, telemedicine capabilities, and training for Lafayette County and surrounding areas.
  • Results: The workgroup fully equipped a local emergency department with HIT, launched electronic prescriptions for nearly a dozen Lafayette County providers, and identified acute needs hindering the adoption of electronic health records.

Regional Behavioral Health Network

Updated/reviewed April 2023

  • Need: Multiple organizations in rural east central Illinois needed a more efficient, centralized system for referring patients experiencing a behavioral health crisis to appropriate treatment services.
  • Intervention: The Regional Behavioral Health Network was established with a 24-hour toll-free crisis line, providing immediate access to trained crisis clinicians.
  • Results: Improved access to high quality behavioral healthcare for patients in rural east central Illinois.

SCDMH Emergency Department Telepsychiatry Consultation Program

Updated/reviewed February 2023

  • Need: The shortage of mental health professionals in rural South Carolina resulted in an influx of patients admitted to emergency departments who were in need of psychiatric care.
  • Intervention: South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) partnered with The Duke Endowment to create the SCDMH Emergency Department Telepsychiatry Program. Rural emergency departments can now reach a psychiatrist to assess a patient via telehealth.
  • Results: The program has improved access, affordability, and provided quality care for rural providers and patients with mental illness.

Simulation in Motion-South Dakota (SIM-SD) EMS Educational Outreach Program

Updated/reviewed February 2023

  • Need: To provide increased educational opportunities for emergency care personnel in rural and frontier South Dakota.
  • Intervention: A technologically advanced training was created to enhance the delivery of emergency patient care.
  • Results: Hundreds of emergency medical services (EMS) staff and volunteers received training that in turn helped them in the field of emergency patient care.

Maine Critical Access Integrated Paramedics

funded by the Health Resources Services Administration

Added August 2022

  • Need: With the nearest hospital more than an hour away, the local community health center in rural Jackman, Maine struggled to maintain its ability to offer 24/7 care to due to staffing and budgetary challenges.
  • Intervention: Critical Access Integrated Paramedics provide urgent care to patients after hours and on weekends.
  • Results: The Jackman Community Health Center has been able to offer round-the-clock care to clinic patients, while also increasing the level of EMS service available to the community.