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Rural communities have different health care needs and challenges than their metropolitan counterparts. Rural providers serve fewer people but have a greater proportion of elderly patients, who tend to have more advanced and chronic conditions. Rural communities face significant shortages in medical personnel and many small rural hospitals, the critical access hospitals, produce financial margins too low to support the investment needed to update facilities and technology to improve care. Efforts to redesign care or quality improvement projects designed for large urban providers generally don’t fit rural providers. That’s why Stratis Health collaborates with other organizations to identify health care issues unique to rural providers and to develop technical assistance projects—tailored to the rural setting—to improve quality and health outcomes in rural communities both in Minnesota and nationally.
Redesign care delivery
Stratis Health assesses the impact of state and national policies on rural health and helps rural providers take advantage of opportunities to sustain and improve local services.
Rural hospital quality reporting and improvement
Through Rural Quality Improvement Technical Assistance (RQITA), a program of FORHP, Stratis Health provides technical assistance related to quality reporting and improvement to beneficiaries of FORHP quality initiatives across the country such as grantees, CAHs, and other rural providers.
We provide technical assistance and develop quality reporting and improvement resources to support CAH success in the Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP), and implementation of chronic illness care initiatives by the 36 Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grantees across the country.
National Rural Virtual Quality Improvement Mentor Program. Eight experienced CAH quality improvement staff from across the country are serving as virtual mentors. They share examples and advice on how to address common quality challenges in small hospitals.
The Rural Quality Advisory Council informs our RQITA work.
Community-based palliative care
Stratis Health has pioneered processes for establishing and supporting palliative care services in rural communities. As often is the case in health care, the wealth of existing best practices were designed based on the large hospital model and did not translate well to work in smaller, rural communities. Recognizing this gap, Stratis Health led efforts to determine palliative care models that work in rural communities and to establish measures to understand how rural palliative care delivers value. More >
Patient safety culture
For more than 10 years, Stratis Health has worked with rural hospitals and CAHs to assess and improve patient safety culture—an organization’s overall commitment to health and safety management. We support the hospitals in conducting the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality patient safety culture survey, analyzing and understanding the results, and making changes to systems, processes, and their organizational cultures to improve patient safety.
Rural emergency department transfer communication project
Stabilizing then appropriately transferring patients to the next setting of care is a key function of emergency departments in small rural hospitals. This pilot project, completed in 2015, trained rural hospitals to collect information on emergency department transfer communication (EDTC), and use the data to improve quality of care, safety, and outcomes for patients transferred from their emergency departments. CAHs across the country use our EDTC tools and resources to support implementation of the EDTC measure as part of MBQIP.
The Emergency Department Transfer Communication Measures, endorsed by National Quality Forum in 2007, were developed and tested under a CMS special study completed in 2005 by Stratis Health and the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center. More >
Contact Stratis Health for assistance with your quality improvement and patient safety needs.
Rural health An overview of Stratis Health’s work. (1-page PDF)
tel: 952-854-3306 | toll-free: 1-877-STRATIS