Mayo Clinic is among several organizations working to create a national learning collaborative among rural health providers, with Montana being an initial test bed.

The Montana work, funded with a $10.5 million grant from the Health Care Innovation Award program under the Affordable Care Act, will establish a Frontier and Rural Performance Network in the state with hopes of linking 48 critical access hospitals and rural health centers. The network will seek to standardize operational processes and improvement efforts across hospitals and clinics based on best practices, with support coming from health improvement, electronic health record and data analysis specialists.

Mayo’s Practice-Based Research Network that operates in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa is part of the initiative and now is partnering with clinics in Montana. Other participating organizations include Mineral Regional Health Center, a primary care clinic in Superior, Mont.; Appalachian Osteopathic Postgraduate Training Institute Consortium, an alliance of schools and hospitals; and iVantage Health Analytics, a business intelligence firm with more than 550 hospital clients.

Mineral Regional Health over three years will hire 30 employees to support the initiative, including a program director, chief financial officer, chief medical officer, human resource director, and improvement, EHR and analytics specialists.

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