Healthcare IT Innovation in a Place Where Many Say it Can’t Happen – a Rural Setting

Perhaps there’s no better place for a case study on effective use of telemedicine and health IT interoperability than in my native South Dakota.

Avera Health, a network of hospitals, family care practices and specialty clinics located in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, opened an e-care hub in fall 2012 in Sioux Falls as way to shrink care gaps in rural medicine throughout the state and across the Northern Plains. Well, So. Dak is made up of nothing but rural areas, so this is the perfect place for an experiment.

The intent is to use electronic services to help rural patients stay closer to home and to boost small-town economies, but according to The Sioux Falls Argus Leader, officials say it also is creating a model for other systems nationally and beyond.

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