Quality Through Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health
Rural America is a vital component of American society. Representing nearly 20 percent of the population, rural communities, like urban landscapes, are rich in cultural diversity. However, the smaller, poorer, and more isolated a rural community is, the more difficult it is to ensure the availability of high-quality health services. The Institute of Medicine report, Quality Through Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health examines the quality of health care in rural America.
In the report, the committee offers a five-pronged strategy to address the quality challenges in rural communities:
- adopting an integrated approach to addressing both personal and population health needs;
- establishing a stronger health care quality improvement support structure to assist rural health systems and professionals;
- enhancing the human resource capacity of health care professionals in rural communities, and the preparedness of rural residents to actively engage in improving their health and health care;
- assuring that rural health care systems are financially stable; and
- investing in an information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, which has enormous potential to enhance health and health care over the coming decade.