Understanding and Facilitating Rural Health Transformation

Tools & Resources

Performance Improvement

Health care organization performance measurement and reporting designed to improve patient care, increase population health, and lower per capita cost.

UDS Crosswalk to Quality Reporting Programs - Tables highlighting alignment between Uniform Data Set (UDS) measures and other quality reporting programs. Intended to help health centers identify which UDS measures are being utilized by other programs such as CMS Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), and the new CMS Quality Payment Program (QPP). Although Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health clinics are exempt from QPP, they are encouraged to voluntarily submit quality data for the program.
     Crosswalk for 2017 Calendar Year Reporting

How Hospital Leaders Can Build Good Working Relationships with Physicians - As structural and economic alignment among health care providers continues to advance, good working relationships between hospital leaders and physicians will become even more essential to rural health care system success. This brief from the Rural Health Value team explores potential barriers to physician engagement and discusses strategies to help hospital leaders build good working relationships with physicians.

5 Key Questions for Healthcare Executives Considering a Transaction - Health care provider affiliations are increasing. In this era of consolidation, health care providers should carefully consider options. In a published interview and presentation, Mr. Joseph Lupica, Chairman of Newpoint Healthcare Advisors reminds readers that local health care is a precious asset requiring fiduciary care. Yet independence is not a mission statement.

The Merger Frenzy - During health care organization affiliation discussions, the local health care system should be considered as a community treasure. Joseph Lupica, a national health care affiliation expert, embraces the Rural Health Value "stop and think" step during health care organization planning. Review Mr. Lupica's interview and presentation for insights about the health care affiliation process.

Finding Statistics and Data Related to Rural Health - This Rural Assistance Center (RAC) topic guide addresses how to locate and fairly and accurately use statistics and data in order to understand and communicate rural health needs.

Selecting Rural Data in American Factfinder - This step-by-step Slideshare presentation shows two methods for selecting rural data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Factfinder tool, which provides access to a wide range of statistics describing the U.S. population. Learn how to use the Geographic Comparison Tables and direct selection of locations to easily identify data for use in rural health grant applications, community health needs assessments, and more.

Data Sources & Tools Relevant to Rural Health - A Rural Assistance Center (RAC) collection of data sources focused on healthcare services, health status, demographics, and social determinants of health. For each source, it identifies the topics covered, ease of use, geographic level of data, and update frequency.

Quality Improvement in Primary Care: External Supports for Practices - A new brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality describes the importance of quality improvement in primary care and outlines external supports - which can be used alone or in combination - to assist primary care practices in improving quality.

Using a Strategic Cycling Process to Increase Organizational Effectiveness - Strategic cycling is an effective technique to ensure that your strategy adapts to a changing environment, focuses on what is important, and remains effective over time. Successful healthcare organizations will steer a consistent course and prioritize performance improvement in response to the external cacophony. With a few exceptions, you can accomplish strategic cycling fairly rapidly, especially after the first cycle. The eight steps of strategic cycling and examples of each are outlined.

Proactive System Affiliation: - An RHV innovation profile: Three small rural hospitals formed an alliance in order to establish a mutually beneficial affiliation with a large regional medical center while remaining locally owned and controlled.

Diabetes Telephonic Care: - An RHV innovation profile: This pilot project, conceived of by a Rural Health Clinic physician, aims to increase diabetes patients' understanding of their disease processes and improve their overall health status. The project uses a team approach and telephonic nurse management for diabetes support, educations, and care management and has produced some very promising results.

Rural Service Delivery Integration & Patient Engagement: - An RHV innovation profile: Engaging local resources to tackle local health care challenges is an effective community health improvement strategy. Learn how a rural California county is working toward a fully integrated and responsive health care delivery system through patient engagement, unnecessary surgery reduction, and emergency department "super utilizer" care management.

Using Data to Drive Change: Targeting High Service Utilizers: - An RHV innovation profile: Faculty members at the University of Oklahoma are using data to identify high utilizers of emergency department and other hospital services and then support care in more appropriate settings. Learn how one physician focuses on high-need/high-cost patients to understand fundamental patient needs and meet those needs with targeted services.

A Rural Accountable Care Organization: - An RHV innovation profile: Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) currently operate in rural areas in every region of the country. Learn from the Executive Director of the South East Rural Physicians Alliance (SERPA) ACO, who is coordinating the design and implementation of the rural-based and physician-led Advance Payment ACO in rural Nebraska.

A County-Based Care Integration Model: - An RHV innovation profile: A county-based health care purchasing organization in rural Minnesota, PrimeWest has established Accountable Rural Community Health (ARCH) to integrate nearly 8,000 network health care providers across the care continuum with county public health and social services.

Rural Hospital System Transformation: - An RHV innovation profile: Using the Lean methodology, the hospitals in the Mercy Health Network are leveraging their resources to drive change. Their goals are to do more with less, have the right resources in the right place at the right time for every caregiver, decrease costs, and increase quality of care and patient safety.

Rural Health Networks and New Forms of Governance: - An RHV innovation profile: Wilderness Health is a formal collaborative of independent rural and urban hospitals that serves patients across the continuum of care. The network's governance structure enables all members to have an equal voice at the table.

Emergency Department Super Utilizer Programs - 'Super utilizer' patients often present to the emergency department with chronic and low acuity health concerns that are inappropriately addressed in a setting designed to care for acute, episodic, and emergent health conditions. Super utilizer programs identify super utilizers and facilitate alternative care models such as primary care coordination and social service assistance. Super utilizer programs generally improve participant health, reduce emergency department visits, and decrease hospital charges. This Rural Health Value white paper describes super utilizer program design, implementation, operation, and assessment.

Using Data to Understand Your Community - For rural communities or organizations seeking to address the Triple Aim©, using data to better understand your community's population can be a useful starting point. Read on to find useful websites (and how you might best use them) that include demographic, population, health, and other data for ZIP code, city, county, and state-level geographic areas.

The Physician's Accountable Care Toolkit - The Physician's Accountable Care Toolkit has been developed by the Towards Accountable Care (TAC) Consortium, a consortium of over 40 North Carolina medical associations and organizations. The TAC provides resources (guides, articles, and webinars) to assist providers understand, participate, navigate, lead, and succeed in a value-driven healthcare system. The Physician's Accountable Care Toolkit details Accountable Care Organization (ACO) implementation strategies and operations guidance for physicians. In addition, the TAC has developed unique ACO guides for several physician specialties and community partners.

Responding to Rural Health's Unique Challenges - The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is investing in research that will build a body of evidence on effective strategies for health care in rural areas. Learn more about PCORI's various rural innovation projects, such as telehealth care for Parkinson Disease patients and hospital discharge improvement for rural areas. Information on how to get involved in PCORI efforts is also provided.