Crossing the Quality Chasm in Eastern Rural Kern County (California)

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The purpose of this project was to assess the need for and feasibility of health information technology (health IT) in rural SE Kern County, California. Three communities this rural region of California were brought together for a one year planning initiative to accomplish the following: identify the extent of issues with chronic disease and quality in the region; learn about the options for addressing quality and chronic disease through information technology; better understand the characteristics, context, barriers, and facilitators of health IT in rural regions; and inform the funding entity (AHRQ) of the issues and opportunities involved with broader implementation in rural areas nationwide. The project was a case stuffy of one rural region, utilizing methods of community-based participatory research. Key informant interviews and focus groups were conducted, as well as secondary data set analysis. A community-based planning collaborative was formed to guide the process. As a result, a comprehensive plan for implementation was developed and funded by AHRQ. This plan addressed the concerns, characteristics, context, and fears of the individuals in the region while calling fo the implantation of infrastructure, health IT education, personal health records for diabetics, a health information exchange, and telemedicine, and more.

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