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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology

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What are integrated rural health networks?

An integrated health network brings previously separate and independent entities into a new, unified structure.  Coordination must be attained in the following three areas to achieve fully integrated status:

  • Clinical integration - coordination of patient care services across the members of the network.
  • Functional integration - coordination of key administrative functions and other support activities across the members of the network. 
  • Financial integration - sharing of capital, risks, and profits across the members of the network.

Rural health networks may or may not be integrated.  In fact, the majority of rural providers do not belong to an integrated rural health network.  Generally, smaller rural health networks have been able to engage in a greater degree of integration as its members are more willing to engage in shared clinical and financial functions.     

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