Health IT in Rural Communities
Over the years, there have been great challenges in the development of critical access hospitals and rural hospitals. Health IT in rural areas creates meaningful need of technology in society. The development of small and rural hospitals in health IT offers vital services and acts as a foundation of rural healthcare delivery processes. These changes do not impact the rural communities in the same ways. Therefore, the people living in rural areas are not getting quality healthcare. There has been rapid change in healthcare services in the rural areas. However, the introduction of health IT aspects has been instrumental in the promotion of growth of healthcare (Morton & Weng, 2013).
The adoption of the health IT ensures better coordination and instant access of patient information for improved healthcare and patient outcomes in rural and small communities. These include the adoption of the EHRs that offers unique position for the use of EHRs. The use of EHRs is aimed at evaluating the potential to adjust rural healthcare providers in collection, management and sharing of health information (Casey. Moscovice & McCullough, 2013). The electronic health records in the rural communities offer access to updated information, new information, medication and interaction that would not be available in rural hospitals. This ensures protection of information because many rural areas have lower incomes. The application of HER provides efficiencies in controlling the costs of healthcare and therefore, promoting rural healthcare.
Health IT also seeks to enhance the ability of rural communities in accessing and coordinating care, improving disease surveillance and targeting healthcare education in society. The activities of health IT improve healthcare systems and patient information. Health IT in rural areas faced with long distant clinics, helps the healthcare providers in accessing information in order to make timely and informed decisions, thereby enabling rural hospitals to use practitioners, facilitating efficient transfer in other facilities and enhancing efficient local care (Morton & Weng, 2013). There are several benefits of IT in rural areas including improved access to services, engaging rural communities, development of collaborative delivery care conditions with urban health care systems, and subjection of coordinators for healthcare providers of patients and staff members.
Overcoming Challenges to Health IT Adoption in Rural Areas
Healthcare in the rural areas and small communities are faced with numerous challenges in health IT adoption and implementation. Hence, the healthcare providers experience problems when it comes to improving the quality and outcomes of healthcare. People in the rural areas have difficulty in accessing healthcare providers. Rural hospitals are the local resource for patient care in rural communities for healthcare services. This is impacted by the long distances, isolation and minimal resources that hinder health IT in the delivery of rural healthcare services. In order to eliminate the barriers in the delivery of healthcare, the hospitals leadership should first have a strong leadership in order to direct health IT and implementation in the facilities. Strong leadership includes the boards of directors, departmental heads, clinical leadership and other administrative teams (Casey, Moscovice & McCullough, 2013). The lack of adequate funding is another great challenge in the implementation of health IT.
Financing enhances the cost of health IT and tools of implementation. The rural hospitals are dependent on grants for funding their primary healthcare and the establishment of health IT programs. In rural areas, the health IT workforce should provide personnel and expertise in order to give an assurance on the integration of EHRs in accepting the healthcare standards. The small and rural hospitals should create strong relationships within the communities where they operate. This will help in the integration of healthcare services with other local organizations in the community. The communities will assist in improving the healthcare programs in the small and rural communities. Thus, the formation of strong partnerships and relationships in small and rural enhance health IT (Health IT, 2014).
Despite the failure of rural healthcare providers in making decisions on the key implementations to be initiated, there are various advantages in the need for health IT in rural health facilities. Based on considerable evidence, health IT has useful components of enhancing the delivery of healthcare in rural areas. Health IT in the rural healthcare service works towards improving the health status of the people in rural areas. The community requires flexible project so as to provide healthcare to the people living in rural areas (Morton & Weng, 2013). Health IT consists of electronic health information exchange and public health authorities. The creation of health IT enables the healthcare experts to acknowledge the steps and elements of rural healthcare providers.
In summary, the establishment of health IT in rural areas assists in ensuring quality healthcare delivery in rural areas. Health IT in rural areas triggers enhanced access to healthcare, engaging rural communities, and coordination with the urban care system. The health IT in rural communities entails an electronic health information exchange, and public health authorities. It is aimed at enhancing the accessibility and coordination of healthcare in rural communities, improving the surveillance of diseases and targeting healthcare education in society. The activities of health IT can significantly improve healthcare systems and patient information. Thus, health IT in rural areas offers better conditions that can enhance better delivery of healthcare.
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Casey, M. M., Moscovice, I., & McCullough, J. (2013). Rural primary care practices and meaningful use of electronic health records: the role of regional extension centers. The Journal of Rural Health.
Health IT. (2014). `Benefits for critical access hospitals and other small rural hospitals.’ Health IT.gov. Retrieved from http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/benefits-critical-access-hospitals-and-other-small-rural-hospitals
Morton, L. W., & Weng, C. Y. (2013). Health and healthcare among the rural aging. In Rural Aging in 21st Century America (pp. 179-194). Springer Netherlands.