North Dakota's Health System: A Model for Rural America?

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<p>North Dakota faces health care challenges common to many rural areas of the U.S., from attracting health care professionals to deploying adequate resources in small, geographically dispersed communities. Despite these disadvantages, the state's health care system appears to be performing better than that in many other states--rural or urban--in providing its residents with accessible, good-quality, efficient care.<br><br>The new Commonwealth Fund report, <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2008/may/the-north-dakota-experience--achieving-high-performance-health-care-through-rural-innovation-and-coo
">The North Dakota Experience: Achieving High-Performance Health Care Through Rural Innovation and Cooperation</a>, discusses how the state has managed to develop an effective health system for all its residents. Based in part on a visit to the state made by members of The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System in 2007, the report describes North Dakota's collaborative efforts to support primary care and medical homes, cooperative networks of providers that help organize care delivery, and innovative use of technology to meet patient needs and hold down costs.<br><br>"Health care providers, payers, and policymakers in rural North Dakota have learned that only through cooperative, interdependent relationships and a willingness to innovate in both the organization and regulation of services can they achieve the reach, care coordination, and economies of scale that are necessary for delivery of quality and efficient care in rural settings," the report notes.</p>