Urgent: Medical Professionals Needed in Rural USA



The Sanford Health Summit on the Future of Rural Health Care highlighted the issue of health care disparities in rural communities. The summit focused on workforce challenges and potential solutions, with Sanford Health CEO Bill Gassen pledging to ensure that an individual’s ZIP code won’t affect the quality of care they receive. The panelists emphasized the need to harness technology, including AI, to address shortages of health care providers and to improve the delivery of care to rural communities.

Summit Focuses on the Future of Rural Health Care

The Sanford Health Summit on the Future of Rural Health Care recently spotlighted the challenges and solutions for rural health care in America. Sanford Health’s CEO, Bill Gassen, pledged to ensure rural communities’ ZIP codes won’t limit their access to world-class care.

The National Rural Health Association highlights that provider shortages can intensify rural health disparities. Therefore, retaining and developing the workforce is critical to achieving desired health outcomes.

Over 2,300 people attended the summit via livestream, while another 200 were present in person. The full video recording of the second Summit on the Future of Rural Health Care is available online.

Overcoming the Health Care Workforce Challenge

Panelists and moderators representing renowned organizations discussed the workforce problem. They emphasized the necessity of utilizing AI and other tools.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, rural areas will have nearly 25% fewer physicians by 2030. Additionally, proposed staffing standards could exacerbate a nursing shortage with the need for an extra 22,000 RNs and 80,000 certified nurse aides, as stated by Mark Parkinson of the American Health Care Association.

The Role of Technology in Rural Health Care

Virtual care is an important topic in national health care. Sanford Health is leading the way through the establishment of a 60,000-square-foot Virtual Care Center. The goal is to broaden health care access and enhance the patient experience.

Ann Mond Johnson, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, emphasized that providers engaged in community health provision are more effective. She praised Sanford’s pioneering approach in rural health care delivery.

The Quality of Health Care in Rural Communities

Jesse Ehrenfeld, president of the American Medical Association, mentioned that rural communities face unique health care provision challenges. By 2034, a deficit of up to 124,000 physicians is projected, the most significant gaps being in primary care, behavioral health, and rural community access.

Summit participants, such as Clifton Porter of the American Health Care Association, noted that collaboration can lead to positive results. The diversity of presenters allowed for the exploration of various solutions, including technology and AI, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand.

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