"It is not for lack of wanting to do it, but there are some real barriers in the way of reporting. It is not apathy but more of a logistical issue," Traeder says. "One of the biggest benefits to the critical access hospitals is that yes we are asking for data which requires some work but we are giving it back to them immediately. It is not collecting data and never seeing it again and not benefitting from it, which is frustrating for people. We are able to gather the data, give it to our analytics partner who runs the numbers and gives it back to them immediately."
"We did a rural operational assessment on 10 critical access hospitals during the last month and they received that data last week. They are able to immediately take that data and start making changes in their system."
While the pilot project focuses on the individual challenges of each critical access hospital, Traeder says the ongoing communication and care coordination is building a sense of community among these tiny and isolated hospitals charged with a vital mission.
"We know there is power in numbers," she says. "One critical access hospital trying to voice a concern over the healthcare system is like an insect screaming in an arena. When we put them together and build this critical access consortium there is power in numbers and that creates a voice for critical access hospitals in Montana."