Skip to main content

Rural Project Examples: Telehealth

Effective Examples

Avera eCARE
Updated/reviewed November 2019
  • Need: Rural hospitals and healthcare providers have less access to specialty care support.
  • Intervention: A service was created at Avera Health that provides 24-hour virtual access to specialty care physicians, nurses and pharmacists.
  • Results: Rural patients can receive specialty care without leaving their communities, and rural healthcare providers can get needed support in providing quality care to their patients.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Madison Outreach and Services through Telehealth (MOST) Network
Updated/reviewed December 2018
  • Need: More mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services in rural Texas.
  • Intervention: A network was formed to bring counseling services through telehealth systems and community health workers to Brazos Valley, Texas.
  • Results: The program improved health outcomes, increased general knowledge of the impact of substance abuse, and raised awareness of services among Hispanic residents.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Medical Advocacy & Outreach's Telehealth Services
Updated/reviewed November 2018
  • Need: Rural Alabama residents with HIV/AIDS face stigma, poverty, and transportation barriers, limiting their access to expert HIV/AIDS healthcare.
  • Intervention: Medical Advocacy & Outreach utilizes telemedicine to remove these barriers and offers cost-effective care to rural patients living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Results: This telehealth network has expanded to reach rural patients in 12 Alabama counties. Patients are staying engaged due to its convenience and cost-effective nature.
University of Vermont Medical Center's Nursing Home Telepsychiatry Service
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: To improve the health status and access for rural nursing home patients in need of mental health services.
  • Intervention: The University of Vermont Medical Center provides telepsychiatry care and education to nursing homes in communities that face shortages of mental health professionals.
  • Results: These telepsychiatry consultations have eased the burden on nursing home residents by saving travel time, distance, and money it takes to travel to the nearest tertiary facility.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Health Wagon
Updated/reviewed January 2021
  • Need: Healthcare access in Central Appalachia for the medically underserved challenged by social and economic determinants of health, including transportation barriers, food insecurity, poverty, and lack of health insurance.
  • Intervention: Three mobile clinics and 2 stationary clinics provide free health care for people in 16 counties in Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
  • Results: By leveraging technology and meeting patients where they are, Health Wagon provided comprehensive healthcare services — including specialty care — to 5,500 patients during 16,000 visit encounters in 2020.
TelePrEP
Updated/reviewed September 2020
  • Need: To prevent new cases of HIV in rural Iowa.
  • Intervention: TelePrEP provides preventive care via telehealth and prescription delivery.
  • Results: Between February 2017 and August 2020, TelePrEP received 456 referrals, with 403 patients completing an initial visit.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy SD eResidential Facilities Healthcare Services Access Project
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • Need: To increase local health services to rural elderly populations in long-term care facilities located in four Midwest states near a tertiary care organization.
  • Intervention: A non-profit healthcare organization implemented telehealth services to provide acute care evaluations for long-term residents in their home facilities.
  • Results: The program increased local care as evidenced by improved year-over-year provider-determined available transfer data: 33%, 50%, 63% program years 1 through 3, respectively. From the success of the initial pilot implementation, the program has further matured into a long-term care offering that now reaches many other rural facilities located in 10 states across the nation.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Learning Exchange Reverse Demonstration (LERD) Model
Updated/reviewed July 2020
  • Need: To make it easier for rural nurses to continue their education by decreasing the need to travel.
  • Intervention: An innovative, online health assessment course uses telehealth to allow rural RN-BSN students to demonstrate skills acquisition.
  • Results: Rural participants had similar learning outcomes to those participating in the onsite version of the course, with fewer travel costs, less time away from work, and higher overall satisfaction.
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 TeleStroke/Vascular Neurology Patient Navigator Program
Added March 2019
  • Need: Improve post-hospital stroke care access in order to improve physical function and well-being for stroke patients living in a 6-county area in rural Minnesota.
  • Intervention: Implementation of an evidence-based patient navigator program paired with telehealth services for post-hospital care of rural stroke patients.
  • Results: In addition to other successes, more than 120 individuals enrolled in the navigator program, the Modified Rankin Score assessments at baseline and 6 months showed functional improvements.