How Data Improves Rural Access to Quality Healthcare

For companies with a dispersed workforce, rural employees face specific obstacles in accessing healthcare. America’s Health Rankings found that 77% of the country’s rural counties experience shortages of primary health professionals. Data also shows that these rural residents experience higher complication, readmission and mortality rates than those in urban communities, leading to reduced employee productivity.

Luckily, today’s technologies promise new ways for employers to provide medical guidance and treatment for team members, regardless of location.. Specifically, data-driven solutions are the key to connecting rural employees to the best available care.

By improving efficiency and providing convenient access, data-driven solutions in healthcare have the potential to lower costs, improve outcomes and increase patient satisfaction. Both consumers and providers alike can leverage software tools to make better informed decisions—saving time, money and lives. This is essential to those in rural areas trying to stay informed and access the best healthcare options nearby.

Here’s how benefit buyers can leverage big data to make sure quality healthcare is available to their rural employees:

Address your employees’ healthcare needs using predictive modeling and proactive patient outreach. Predictive analytics uses historical data to forecast medical events and personalize care on an individual basis. By analyzing available claims data, a third-party company can help direct your employees toward the right specialists to either address current health issues or prevent them altogether. This proactive outreach can also help with chronic disease management, patient matching and readmission prevention.

When your employees need in-person care, direct them to the highest-quality options in their area. Data can empower your employees to make informed decisions, especially when it comes to choosing a local physician. Third-party companies can collect predictive measures on physician performance, including training history, treatment patterns, procedure volumes and medical outcomes. This insight into the quality of available options will help your employees find the best local experts for their specific medical needs or conditions.

Connect your employees to remote second opinions when they face complex medical conditions. As a benefit buyer, you should select solutions that best align with how your employees use healthcare today. Look for options that offer telemedicine and telehealth for your rural-based employees so that they can remotely receive care and advice. This will encourage smarter decision-making no matter where your employees are located but especially for those living in towns with limited options.

Keep your employees up-to-date on their available benefits. Mobile and data-driven technology is creating more immediate methods of communication between providers, patients and employers. Ultimately, these real-time notifications improve outcomes, encourage preventative medicine, streamline processes and enhance your employees’ healthcare experience. Your rural employees will be empowered to make smarter health decisions, which will save both of you time and money in the long run.

With today’s technology, rural employees are no longer stranded with limited healthcare resources. Data-driven and automated approaches to healthcare can help your employees accurately select the best local physicians, access remote second opinions, and stay informed of their health needs and available benefits. No matter their location, you can be confident that your employees are receiving the best available care.