Rural Healthcare Quality Models and Innovations
These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.
Updated/reviewed July 2017
- Need: To increase the capacity for more effective treatment of chronic, complex conditions in rural and underserved communities.
- Intervention: Through a specially-designed project, remote primary care providers work with academic specialists as a team to manage chronic conditions of rural patients, expanding remote providers’ knowledge base through shared case studies.
- Results: Patient management and care provided by rural providers through ongoing education and mentoring from Project ECHO® has proved as effective as treatment provided by specialists at a university medical center.
Updated/reviewed August 2018
- 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 is a communication network in which pharmacists can identify safety concerns and share 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.
Updated/reviewed May 2018
- Need: Improvement in service quality and patient experience in primary care practices in North Carolina's Blue Ridge region and across the state.
- Intervention: A practicum for healthcare management students to help rural practices achieve Patient Care Medical Home (PCMH) status and identify quality improvement needs and develop strategies.
- Results: With the help of practicum students, rural primary practices have achieved PCMH status and Blue Quality Physician Program Recognition as well as tackled a number of important quality improvement projects.
Other Project Examples
Updated/reviewed June 2018
- Need: To help adults and children in rural South Dakota prevent or manage their diabetes.
- Intervention: The Facing Diabetes Project offered group medical visits for adults and provides prevention and education sessions for the local 4th to 5th graders.
- Results: Many adults and children in the region feel better equipped to choose healthy foods, exercise regularly, and manage their stress: all factors that can help prevent diabetes or decrease its effects.
Updated/reviewed March 2018
- Need: To help ensure the viability of and improve quality at 9 rural, independent hospitals serving 11 Utah counties.
- Intervention: A network organization was created to allow member hospitals to communicate, network, and undertake projects together.
- Results: Members take advantage of cost savings, education, and networking opportunities through group projects and programs.
Updated/reviewed December 2017
- Need: Prepare medically complex patients for care needs after hospital discharge.
- Intervention: A program focused on hospital discharges and care transitions for patients located in three New Hampshire counties
- Results: Decreased high-risk patient readmissions and establishment of continuous care coordination focus.
Updated/reviewed August 2017
- Need: Critical access hospitals (CAHs) in rural Illinois required an external mechanism for peer review.
- Intervention: Using physicians from network member hospitals, a CAH network implemented a peer review process.
- Results: Staff peer reviews also improved healthcare quality within the CAH network.
Updated/reviewed June 2017
- Need: Healthcare facilities that were part of The Hospital Cooperative (THC) needed a simple, customized benchmarking tool to compare indicators across member hospitals.
- Intervention: THC developed a benchmarking template that is fast and easy to use.
- Results: THC collected data semi-annually at each facility, allowing for valuable information and data to be reported to the cooperative quickly.
Added April 2017
- Need: To reduce hospital admissions and improve health for North Carolina patients.
- Intervention: Granville Health System's Transitional Care Program helps hospital and ED patients schedule follow-up appointments. In addition, the program provides home visits and safety checks.
- Results: From 2015 to 2016, the number of patients receiving home visits increased from 30 to 86. In addition, 2016 saw a $73,595 reduction in inpatient readmissions and an $11,500 reduction in self-pay readmissions of patients with high-risk diagnoses.
Last Updated: 8/20/2018