Leveraging Health Information Technology and Health Information Management in Rural America: A Health Summit Commentary

Executive Director, Research Alliances, HealthCore, Wilmington, Delaware, USA.
The Journal of Rural Health (Impact Factor: 1.45). 12/2012; 28(1):4-7. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2011.00383.x
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Healthcare organizations are increasingly faced with an environment in which they must implement health information systems to achieve higher standards for efficiency and quality of care while at the same time being asked to provide needed services with fewer resources. This is particularly challenging for rural health systems where access to resources is often more limited. This study investigates the potential value of iPad tablets for enhancing health services delivery by primary care physicians in rural Nevada. Five physicians from rural Nevada were selected to receive iPads and funding for apps that would enhance their medical practices. Following a year of use, data was gathered on each physician's actual use and perceived value of the iPads. A case study approach was taken using both an online survey and semi-structured phone interviews to collect case data. Use and perceived usefulness of the iPad was mixed but generally positive with some physicians utilizing it much more than others. The iPads were primarily used by the physicians to access medical information through online resources (e.g. Epocrates and UpToDate) for reference and diagnostic purposes, although they were also used for some interaction with patients. All felt that resources available through the iPad were limited and that better applications would improve the usefulness of the iPad, particularly in regard to graphical and video content suitable to sharing with patients. Physicians in this study felt that the iPad could fill a need between smartphones and desktops, which were their primary technology tools prior to receiving the iPad, but that useful medical applications and resources are currently limited for the iPad. In particular, better graphical and video content would improve the usefulness of the iPad as a tool for patient interactions. Apps that store content locally would serve to mitigate inconsistent internet access that is still common in rural settings, increasing the usefulness of the iPad in that context. Tablets like the iPad also have potential for use in accessing the electronic medical record systems that are increasingly being implemented in rural hospitals and healthcare facilities.
    International Journal of Medical Informatics 08/2013; 82(11). DOI:10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2013.08.006 · 2.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite increasing frequency, little evidence guides cholesterol screening in less traditional health care settings, such as rural health fairs. The Miller School of Medicine Department of Community Service (DOCS) is a student-run organization providing free basic health care to underserved South Florida communities. We retrospectively reviewed all new patients seen at 2007 DOCS rural fairs to describe their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) values. In addition, we assessed if patient characteristics were associated with cholesterol abnormalities and whether patients with abnormalities who returned to a subsequent fair in 2008 or 2009 improved their cholesterol. Of 252 patients, 145 (58%) had an LDL cholesterol over 129 mg/dL and 61 (24%) had an HDL cholesterol below 40 mg/dL or 50 mg/dL for males and females, respectively. Baseline LDL cholesterol was not associated with body-mass index (BMI), age over 60 years, gender, healthy lifestyle habits, or insurance status. Of 36 patients with elevated LDL cholesterol and a follow-up screening, 24 (67%) reduced their LDL cholesterol by at least 16 mg/dL though reductions were not associated with BMI reduction, and 22 (61%) increased their HDL cholesterol by at least 5 mg/dL, trending with BMI reduction. Cholesterol screening at rural fairs can identify a high proportion of patients with abnormal cholesterol, including those who might not be considered at high risk. Although this may catalyze favorable cholesterol changes, the lack of an association with weight loss suggests patients seek additional medical care, which should be considered before offering cholesterol screening at fairs.
    The Journal of Rural Health 09/2013; 29(4):360-367. DOI:10.1111/jrh.12002 · 1.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract The aim of this study was to compare the mental health, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors of rural and non-rural transgender persons. Online banner advertisements were used to recruit 1,229 self-identified rural and non-rural transgender adults (18+ years) residing in the US. Primary findings include: significant differences in mental health between rural and non-rural transmen; relatively low levels of binge drinking across groups, although high levels of marijuana use; and high levels of unprotected sex among transwomen. The results confirm that mental and physical health services for transgender persons residing in rural areas are urgently needed.
    Journal of Homosexuality 12/2013; 61(8). DOI:10.1080/00918369.2014.872502 · 0.78 Impact Factor