High-touch futurist Connie Reimers-Hild: The future of rural healthcare staffing

 

Connie Reimers-Hild, Associate Director, Rural Futures Institute
At this moment we are at a time of incredible challenge, but also incredible opportunity. Imagine rural hospitals collaborating with technology companies, startups and other partners to co-create the next healthcare model with consumers, students, employees and community members. 
Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., CPC
RFI Associate Executive Director & Chief Futurist

In her journal article, “Strategic foresight, leadership, and the future of rural healthcare staffing in the United States,” Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., CPC, RFI Associate Executive Director and Chief Futurist, calls for both incremental and radical innovation as well as novel and holistic approaches to disrupt the United States’ rural healthcare model in terms of business strategy and staffing. The paper has been published in this month’s issue of the Journal of of American Academy of Physician Assistants.

 

It has been well documented that rural healthcare is in or at least nearing crisis. Broadly, the U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other nation, but ranks 34th in health outcomes. The challenges are exacerbated in the rural context where primary care provider shortages are creating significant access issues.

As both wellness and economic drivers in rural communities, healthcare providers and hospitals are at a decisive moment—how will they innovate with technology and future-focused leadership to meet patients and consumers at the intersection of their needs, wants and demands?

“This article is intended to ignite serious conversations and initial action around how the model of rural healthcare can evolve,” Reimers-Hild said. “At this moment we are at a time of incredible challenge, but also incredible opportunity. Imagine rural hospitals collaborating with technology companies, startups and other partners to co-create the next healthcare model with consumers, students, employees and community members.”

Within the paper Reimers-Hild defines two key megatrends, global shifts that influence society, the economy and the environment, as the base strategic foresight tools—exponential advances in science and technology and the continued evolution of the decentralized global marketplace in which stakeholders are co-creators.

In total, she offers seven ideas to stimulate disruptive thinking within the $3 trillion U.S. healthcare system. She demonstrates her concepts through businesses such as Stitch Fix, Doctors on Demand, Nomad Health and Microsoft. She also mentions and defines technology with health applications such as artificial intelligence (AI), sensors, robots, 3D printers, driverless vehicles, holograms and lab-on-a-chip.

“Dr. Reimers-Hild’s article is fascinating,” said Sue Glueck, Academic Relations Director at Microsoft. “I have read so many ‘the sky is falling’ articles that it’s refreshing to read something optimistic—something grounded in reality, pointing out the potential for bad outcomes, but ultimately really optimistic and potentially the nudge that will give readers the idea for an app, startup or new technology.”

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