Participant-Identified Challenges Facing Rural Healthcare Systems
Potential problems with a regional approach to response
Planning and response hurdles
tion and information network that can provide standardized, real-time information to all involved in an MCI response. The ultimate goal of regionalization is to improve patient outcomes through the best, most efficient use of collective resources. Regionalization should strengthen, rather than detract from, individual EMS preparedness as it provides a framework for immediate and streamlined assistance should a locality be overwhelmed.
Regional coalitions can be informal cooperatives or structured, formal hierarchies. Participants suggested that regional coalitions are successful in improving integration and collaboration by what they view as common priorities and goals, rather than how they specifically accomplish them. Panelists discussed models within a broad spectrum, from EMS systems and volunteer first response agencies aggregated under one umbrella with a single director for an entire county, to loose coalitions that revolve around the coordination of a few prominent organization directors. Workshop participants highlighted that especially in rural settings, a one-size-fits-all regional model is not feasible. Emblematic of this concept was the initial vocalization by some participants that in rural areas, small incidents can be