Rural Health: The Future of Medicine

Nov. 15, 2018

Celebrating National Rural Health Day


As healthcare marketers, we collaborate with rural health leaders every day. We are reminded of the critical importance for rural health not only to survive, but also to thrive, in meeting the needs of our communities.

In recognition of today as National Rural Health Day, let us reflect that as the Rural Health Information Hub declares, “It’s not just a day, it’s a movement.” 

Sure, there’s a business goal in mind as we work with our clients to persuade their patients to stay local. But it’s so much more. Despite the fact that some rural hospitals are closing due to poor performance or market conditions, I’d actually argue that rural health is not in decline. In fact, I believe rural healthcare is the ultimate solution for providing quality access to all, while managing costs for our organizations, our patients, and for our nation. Frankly, there’s just no substitute for personalized care and the tireless dedication and compassion shown by our local provider and nursing teams. 

Just as in any business, whether it is healthcare or manufacturing, we must stay current and adapt to change. I observe many successful rural health leaders who recognize the challenges, but then implement a plan to overcome. They invest in technology that rivals their big-city competitors. They seek innovative ways to provide care, and work closely with their providers, boards and community members to achieve their goals. They examine their community health needs assessments and develop programs to meet unmet needs, while seeking ways to increase efficiencies and revenue opportunities. 

For example, as we well know, access to mental health providers and services is a challenge in rural areas. As a result, primary care doctors often provide mental health services while facing barriers such as lack of time with patients and adequate financial reimbursement. Many organizations are increasingly turning to telehealth. But in this case, for instance, it’s examining new technologies and platforms to adjust how to provide care. Today’s telehealth is not the telehealth of a decade ago.

As we reflect on this important day in our industry, let us also recognize that rural healthcare is here to stay. It may be in a different form, with new innovative ways to provide care, but the need for local, quality care still remains.

Mike Milligan, President, Legato Healthcare Marketing


Website by: Craig Erskine

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