Improving Care for Frontier Populations

Improving Care for Frontier Populations Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The National Rural Health Association defines frontier communities as having fewer than seven people per square mile and being farther than 30 miles or 30 minutes from a primary care facility. In frontier settings in the United States, weather and distance can hinder patients’ access to dental and medical care. Providers in these remote areas often work in innovative ways to increase access to health care services.

The featured Innovations describe three programs that used innovative approaches to overcome barriers to health care access in frontier settings. One program used dental health aides to provide routine dental care, another implemented an innovative policy that extended hours for patients who need round-the-clock care in remote settings, and a third used electronic health records to bring preventive care services to isolated villages.

The featured QualityTools include a toolkit to help small and critical-care hospitals plan for and implement telehealth, health information exchanges, and personal health records; a tool to help rural facilities assess the status of their paramedicine program; and a rural resource center with more than 2,500 links to such topics as dental and emergency medical services, insurance and managed care, mental health, and substance abuse.

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