Telemedicine is a means of improving care quality and access in rural areas, but limited evidence is available on how telemedicine affects the hospital-community relationship. We examined hospital staff perceptions about the ways in which rural communities benefited from the implementation of telemedicine offered by a hub facility. We fielded 405 surveys from 84 hospitals and conducted interviews with 81 clinicians and administrators at 26 hospitals. Survey respondents had positive perceptions about the benefit of tele-emergency services to rural communities, but this finding was less true of tele-pharmacy. Interviewees described how telemedicine enhanced rural hospitals’ reputation for high-quality care, how community members benefited from being close to their support networks, and how word of positive patient experiences increased community awareness of hospital services.
by Troy R. Mills, MS; Jared Vavroch; James A. Bahensky, MS; and Marcia M. Ward, PhD
The growth of electronic medical records (EMRs) is driven by the belief that EMRs will significantly improve healthcare providers’ performance and reduce healthcare costs. Evidence supporting these beliefs is limited, especially for small rural hospitals. A survey that focused on health information technology (HIT) capacity was administered to all hospitals in Iowa.