Integrated Rural Health Network
In the article Understanding Integrated Rural Health Networks, an Integrated Rural Health Network is defined as
“a formal organizational arrangement among rural healthcare providers (and possibly insurers and social service providers) that use the resources of more than one existing organization and specifies the objectives and methods by which various collaborative functions will be achieved.”
Integrated Rural Health Networks have autonomous members and are created for a variety of reasons: aligning resources and strategies, achieving economies of scale and efficiency, and increasing value.
To be considered integrated, all network members must have coordinated efforts in at least one of three areas. Some networks involve coordination in multiple areas.
- Clinical integration (coordinating patient care services across units)
- Functional integration (coordinating administrative functions)
- Financial integration (sharing capital, risks, and profits)
- Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network, consisting of Critical Access Hospitals
- Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, consisting of rural acute, general medical-surgical hospitals
- S2AY, consisting of public health departments
Integrated Rural Health Networks can also have members that represent multiple types of providers (sometimes referred to as vertical networks). Examples include:
- Santa Cruz County Adolescent Wellness Network, including a community health center, University Extension Cooperative, school districts, Area Health Education Center, and behavioral health services
- Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri, including healthcare providers, social service providers, schools, community representatives
- Northeast Oregon Network, including primary care, health education, and economic development
Resources to Learn More
Care Management in Rural Communities
Working paper that outlines strategies and necessary investments for developing integrated healthcare networks in rural communities.
Author(s): Griffin, E. & Coburn, A.
Organization(s): Maine Rural Health Research Center
Rural Health Networks to Address Local Needs
Exploration of five networks to demonstrate a variety of methods networks can apply to organize and address local concerns. The report includes each network's history, planned objectives and progress toward goals.
Author(s): Moscovice, I. & Elias, W.