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Montana Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Evidence-Based Examples

Women to Women Online Support Network
Updated/reviewed August 2018
  • Need: Women living in rural areas with chronic illness often face little social support, leading to increased rates of depression and stress
  • Intervention: Women to Women offered rural women with chronic conditions social support networks via telecommunication
  • Results: WTW intervention participants experienced positive increases in self-esteem, social support, and empowerment over the control group

Effective Examples

Avera eCARE
Updated/reviewed September 2018
  • 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 Health Coaches for Hypertension Control
Updated/reviewed September 2018
  • Need: A cost-effective approach to help rural patients with hypertension learn to manage their condition.
  • Intervention: Community volunteers trained as health coaches provided an 8-session hypertension management training program to hypertension patients older than 60, with an optional supplemental 8 sessions focused on nutrition and physical activity.
  • Results: Just 16 weeks after the program, participants had improved systolic blood pressure, weight, and fasting glucose, greater knowledge of hypertension, and improved self-reported behaviors.
Montana "Team Up. Pressure Down." Blood Pressure Medication Adherence Project
Added November 2017
  • Need: To help rural Montana patients manage their blood pressure levels.
  • Intervention: Pharmacists distributed "Team Up. Pressure Down." materials from the Million Hearts Initiative and provided consultations.
  • Results: 89% of patients were able to adhere to their blood pressure medication, compared to 73% before the intervention.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Butte Child Evaluation Center
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: Before 2000, Butte and southwest Montana had around 1,300 cases of child abuse a year, with only a 20% conviction rate for perpetrators of sexual abuse.
  • Intervention: Multiple agencies in the community came together to address the issue of child abuse by forming the Butte Child Evaluation Center (CEC), a Children's Advocacy Center.
  • Results: During a 3-year grant cycle, over 200 interviews and exams were performed on victims of sexual abuse and the Butte CEC became the first program in Montana to be accredited by the National Children's Alliance.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy EMS Live@Nite
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: Distance, time, and cost make it difficult for EMS volunteers to attend continuing education and maintain certification.
  • Intervention: Inland Northwest Health Services delivers free online training to rural EMS providers via video teleconferencing.
  • Results: The EMS Live@Nite program provides free, monthly training to rural EMS providers in the northwestern part of the United States. The program is available through live video conferencing from certified locations in rural communities.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Montana Health Network Primary Care Telemedicine
Updated/reviewed May 2018
  • Need: Backup coverage for primary care providers in rural Montana.
  • Intervention: A network of healthcare facilities developed a primary care telemedicine program.
  • Results: While the technology worked for primary care telemedicine and patients were open to the process, primary care telemedicine did not become a long-term solution in this Montana region due to low patient volume and a lack of telemedicine provider availability.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Targeted Rural Underserved Track (TRUST) Program
Updated/reviewed December 2017
  • Need: There is a shortage of rural physicians in the Northwestern United States.
  • Intervention: University of Washington medical students are receiving training through the TRUST program in rural, underserved communities across a five-state radius.
  • Results: Long-lasting connections have been formed among regional and underserved communities, medical students, and rural health professionals, producing more rural physicians as a result.
RS3 – Rural Montana Surgical Support System
Added November 2017
  • Need: Providing more in-state surgical care options for Montana patients.
  • Intervention: A system to keep surgical procedures in Critical Access Hospitals or provide seamless engagement of Montana's available advanced surgical expertise when needed.
  • Results: Increased surgical care options, with a side benefit of recruiting young surgeons to rural/frontier Montana.
Super-Utilizer Pilot Project
Added November 2017
  • Need: To address patients' complex physical, behavioral, and social health needs in order to reduce unnecessary visits to the emergency department or inpatient admissions.
  • Intervention: A pilot project in rural Montana provides intensive outpatient care management to high-need and high-cost patients.
  • Results: With the program's first 27 patients, the healthcare team in Kalispell has saved more than $1.6 million in hospital costs.

Last Updated: 9/10/2018