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Rural Project Examples: Pharmacy and prescription drugs

Effective Examples

Pharmacists for Patient Safety Network
Updated/reviewed September 2020
  • Need: Pharmacists in rural Nebraska are often isolated and find it difficult to communicate with others about safety concerns.
  • Intervention: The Pharmacists for Patient Safety Network was a communication network in which pharmacists identified safety concerns and shared solutions.
  • Results: After one year of implementation, 30 of the 38 participating pharmacies reported that the network encouraged new safety practices and reinforced existing safety strategies.
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.
Project Lazarus
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: To reduce overdose-related deaths among prescription opioid users in rural Wilkes County, North Carolina
  • Intervention: Education and tools are provided for prescribers, patients and community members to lessen drug supply and demand, and to reduce harm in prescription opioid use
  • Results: Opioid overdose death rates have decreased in Wilkes County

Promising Examples

Integrated Chronic Pain Treatment and Training Project
Updated/reviewed October 2020
  • Need: To reduce prescription opioid misuse and overdoses in North Carolina.
  • Intervention: The ICPTTP standardizes and streamlines chronic pain management in primary care clinics.
  • Results: The ICPTTP reduced patients' average morphine equivalent daily dose, and 29% of patients successfully tapered off chronic opioid therapy.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Physical and Behavioral Health Integrated Care Project
Updated/reviewed October 2020
  • Need: To provide unified and seamless access to primary care to adult patients in Pennsylvania's rural Clearfield and Jefferson counties who have been diagnosed with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness.
  • Intervention: A "one-stop shop" of healthcare services addressed the physical and behavioral health and medication needs of adults in the region.
  • Results: Results indicated better behavioral and physical health outcomes for participants as well as increased adherence to medications.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Rural Virtual Infusion Program
Updated/reviewed April 2020
  • Need: Allow rural cancer patients in a region inclusive of 26 counties in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota to have access to tertiary-level chemotherapy regimens in rural infusion centers.
  • Intervention: With telehealth-based oversight from a tertiary care oncology team, 3 rural infusion teams were trained to coordinate cancer treatment plans and administer complex chemotherapy regimens.
  • Results: Almost 130 patients were transitioned to receive chemotherapy in a rural infusion center, translating to over 1,000 infusion visits and saving patients/families nearly 65,000 trip miles, 1,800 travel hours and $71,000.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Health Wagon
Updated/reviewed February 2020
  • Need: Healthcare access for the medically underserved in Central Appalachia.
  • Intervention: A mobile clinic that provides free healthcare in 11 rural Virginia communities.
  • Results: The Health Wagon provides comprehensive healthcare services to over 4,000 patients annually.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy SLV N.E.E.D.: Naloxone Education Empowerment Distribution Program
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • Need: Growing concern in rural Colorado communities regarding prescription and illegal opioid overdoses.
  • Intervention: Education efforts for health workers and the larger community, in addition to establishing a naloxone overdose reversal drug program.
  • Results: In addition to continuing to train nearly all first responders to administer naloxone, the organization provides harm reduction education in various community settings.
Southwest Health System Antibiotic Stewardship Program
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: Impact patient care and safety issues related to antibiotic use in southwest Colorado.
  • Intervention: Pharmacy-led antibiotic stewardship program for inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care settings.
  • Results: With antibiotic use guidelines, refined infection diagnostics, and first-choice antibiotic selections, all care settings now see decreased days of treatment and decreased resistance patterns.
Scheffe Prescription Shop's Medication Synchronization Program
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: For adults with chronic conditions, skipping a dose or two is common, but can also be risky. Frequent medication in-adherence has accounted for emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and even death.
  • Intervention: The Scheffe Prescription Shop in Enid, Oklahoma started a medication synchronization program. Pharmacists serve as care coordinators for patients by prepackaging pills, scheduling recheck appointments, and providing pickup reminders and medication education over the phone.
  • Results: The program has reduced the number of trips patients have to take to the pharmacy to pick up their pills and has increased medication adherence rates over 4 years.