|Grants encourage use of technology to improve rural health care delivery|
Nine grants have been awarded to facilities that have shown the initiative to utilize information and communication technology to improve health care delivery in rural communities.
Nearly $425,000 was awarded through the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota’s (BCBSND) Rural Health Grant Program, which is administered by the Center for Rural Health at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
"We appreciate the diligent work done this year by all the provider organizations on many innovative and worthwhile projects,” said Mike Unhjem, president and CEO of BCBSND. “I wish we could fund them all. The competition for available funds continues to be excellent and that shows us providers are achieving a high level of creativity in addressing cost-quality-access issues in rural areas. We're pleased to have supported this effort over the past six years."
Coal Country Community Health Center of Beulah will use the grant funds to purchase a digital radiology imaging system that will improve the quality of patient care, reduce errors, lower healthcare costs and boost productivity with rapid image availability.
Jacobson Memorial Hospital Care Center of Elgin will use the grant to purchase computed radiography equipment that will optimize patient care, reduce exam times, lower health care costs and boost productivity with rapid image availability.
Sakakawea Medical Center of Hazen will use the grant to implement an electronic medical records system that will include a picture archiving and communication system.
Hillsboro Medical Center and the Hillsboro Medical Center Foundation of Hillsboro will use the grant to implement an electronic medical records system that will be shared with other health care facilities, providers and patients by purchasing a picture archiving and communication system.
Kenmare Community Hospital will use the grant to implement a computerized radiography system that will coordinate with Trinity Health in Minot to network with the Web-based picture archiving and communications system.
Linton Hospital will use the grant to purchase digital radiography equipment to enhance networking for the hospital and associated clinics, optimizing patient care, reducing exam times and reducing health care costs.
Northwood Deaconess Health Center will use the grant to build a centralized data center to be shared between hospitals that will provide a cost-effective method to support implementation of telemedicine, telepharmacy and a picture archiving and communications system.
Turtle Lake Community Memorial Hospital will use the grant to purchase digital radiography equipment that will optimize patient care and boost productivity with rapid image availability.
Wishek Community Hospitals & Clinics will use the grant to purchase digital radiography equipment that will optimize patient care, increase health information between facilities, lower health care costs and boost productivity.
"Many rural health care facilities are in the process of developing a plan to eventually implement electronic health records (EHR), per President Bush's vision that most Americans will have electronic health records by 2014,” said Lynette Dickson, the program’s director at the Center for Rural Health. “However, at $600,000 or more per facility, it is more realistic to build their systems one component at a time. The funding that BCBSND provides through this grant program affords rural health care facilities the ability to get one step closer to a complete electronic system."
In an effort to strengthen the rural health delivery system in North Dakota, BCBSND initiated a new rural health grant program in 2001. Developed and administered by the Center for Rural Health, the purpose of the grant program is to support communities who demonstrate an effective plan to successfully transition to new models of rural health care delivery.
For more information about the BCBSND Rural Health Grand Program visit: http://www.med.und.nodak.edu/depts/rural/sorh/bcbs
-- Wendy Opsahl, Communications Coordinator, Center for Rural Health, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-0871