In March 2015, the Institute hosted an event focused on advancing the transition to a high performance rural health system for greater community health and wellbeing. We brought together university faculty, leaders from the broader university campus, and a few external groups such as potential funders, legislators, policy analysts, and rural health system providers and leaders, for a day-long “Next Steps” retreat. The group worked to develop solution‐driven project ideas that are ripe for application or testing in rural communities in our region.
As a result of the event, a number of potential projects were identified by faculty teams for advancing rural health system performance. These included investigations of patient perspectives on access to healthcare, exploring telemedicine/telehealth effectiveness and perceptions, testing health behavior interventions, reducing diabetes among high-risk moms with young children, and reducing fall risk factors for older adults.
So far, the Institute has agreed to fund one project, led by faculty members Elna Nagasako, Aimee James, Timothy McBride, and Rebecca Lobb. The group will work closely with BJC Parkland Health Center Emergency Department in St. Francois County, Missouri. They will use a human‐centered design approach to better understand: 1) the needs and experiences of patients seeking healthcare at the Parkland Health Center Emergency Department and 2) patient perspectives on selected evidence‐based interventions for increasing access to care. These findings will form the basis for implementing and testing an intervention adapted to this rural setting.