Rural Task Force
- Many rural surgeons are in solo practice or have a limited number of surgical partners, leading to unique challenges.
- The patients served by rural hospitals are often older, more medically complex, less likely to seek timely medical care, and more economically disadvantaged compared to their urban counterparts.
- Rural surgeons are often unable to participate in registries and quality improvement initiatives due to case volume thresholds required for quality measurement and a relative lack of hospital resources.
How can SCW support rural surgeons?
- Engage and partner with surgeons practicing in rural counties to identify the unique challenges and opportunities associated with the rural practice setting and develop appropriate, relevant quality-improvement initiatives.
- Develop surgical quality measures with reduced volume thresholds to allow surgeons in rural practice to receive benchmarked performance reports.
- Work to address barriers to effective and efficient patient transfers between tertiary facilities and local facilities
- Create a network for collaborative virtual and in-person learning opportunities to discuss and refine best practices for surgeons practicing in rural settings.
Interested in Participating?
- Click here to learn how you can join.
- We welcome participation by surgeons, nurses quality improvement specialists, and others involved in the care of patients undergoing surgery in rural settings.
Why Rural Surgical Care?
Nearly two-thirds of Wisconsin counties are defined as rural. Almost one-third of counties in Wisconsin have fewer than 20 surgeons per 100,000 people, and 14% of counties have no surgeons at all.
Evidence-based guidelines have impact
There are unique challenges to practicing in a rural setting, including lack of access to resources and specialists for consultation. Additionally, rural surgeons often have a broad scope of practice, making it difficult to stay current with ever-changing evidence-based guidelines and best practices.
Ensure equal access to high-quality surgical care
The Rural Task Force was created in response to feedback from our members who practice in rural settings, with the goal of creating a collaborative learning network with quality measures and initiatives that are relevant to rural surgical practice.