Innovation is the key to improving health in rural areas

by The American Heart Association

Dallas, TX - Cardiovascular mortality is on the rise in rural areas of the United States, where more than 60 million Americans live, according to an American Heart Association presidential advisory. Understanding and addressing the unique health needs of people in rural America is critical to the Association’s pursuit of a world of longer, healthier lives.

Today — on National Rural Health Day — the Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, announces two new collaborative efforts to help close the gap between rural and urban hospital care and bring equitable care to all, regardless of where you live.

“Addressing the unique health needs of people in rural America is critical to achieving the American Heart Association’s 2024 impact goal for equitably increasing healthy life expectancy nationwide,” said Karen Joynt-Maddox, M.D., MPH, American Heart Association volunteer, associate professor at the Washington University School of Medicine and co-director of the Washington University in St. Louis Center for

Advancing Health Services, Policy & Economics Research. “Innovative collaborations like these are key to improving rural health across the nation.”

Sharing clinical educational resources

The American Heart Association is collaborating with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) to highlight and share cardiovascular and stroke clinical educational resources such as model practices, collaborative learnings and rural quality research findings with NRHA membership.

Through this collaboration, the American Heart Association will submit content for NRHA’s magazine Rural Horizons, weekly e-newsletter NRHA Today and Journal of Rural Health, as well as participate in NRHA’s 2024 Annual Rural Health Conference and 2024 Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conference.

“NRHA is excited to partner with the American Heart Association to share resources and education to help reduce rural cardiovascular health disparities,” said NRHA CEO Alan Morgan.

Harmonizing quality data for analysis and validation

The American Heart Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) are collaborating on efforts to resolve outcomes gaps and identify model practices for hospitals and health systems in the rural setting. This effort will identify sites participating in both organizations’ respective quality programs and cross-promote their data registries, as well as explore data harmonization and opportunities for shared data analysis and validation.

The Association and ACEP share common priorities in addressing outcomes gaps in rural areas and building the knowledge base needed for evidence-based clinical practice. Reaching clinicians and providers and other key constituents with important messages is foundational to these efforts.

ACEP’s E-QUAL stroke initiative strives to make stroke quality improvement strategies accessible for emergency departments of all shapes and sizes. The E-QUAL data submission activities have been designed to allow hospitals who are already participating in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines® programs to seamlessly meet all E-QUAL reporting requirements.

“Through ACEP’s E-QUAL stroke initiative, we strive to make stroke quality improvement strategies accessible for emergency departments of all shapes and sizes,” said Kori Zachrison, M.D., MSc, E-QUAL Stroke Initiative co-lead. “While many rural EDs may be working with fewer resources at their disposal, they remain the anchor of the community’s stroke chain of survival. We’re thrilled to work side-by-side with the AHA in investing in these communities.”

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