The following was originally published by the Chadron Record, in Chadron, Neb.

What kind of health care system makes one of its most important rural components dependent upon bake sales and calendars for operating resources? Unfortunately, that is the situation in many rural places for their first-line and often life-saving emergency medical services (EMS). Many rural EMS providers are underfunded and face workforce and volunteer shortages. EMS agencies have placed growing demands and health care responsibilities on their often volunteer workforces.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many EMS providers have inadequate communications infrastructure and are often isolated from the rest of the health care delivery system. A major example is the lack of access EMS providers have to medical records and medical history, something health information technology could potentially resolve if EMS providers were able to obtain the
resources to connect with other rural providers.

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