Assessing Health Information Technology (HIT) Strategies to Improve Access for Rural Veterans

Research center:
Project funded:
September 2014
Project completed:
December 2015
Rural veterans face unique barriers to care including insufficient communication and coordination of care provided across multiple settings—both within and outside of the Veteran's Administration. To help reduce these barriers, multiple agencies within the federal government have promoted technology as an opportunity to improve access and care coordination to veterans living in remote areas. Most recently, programs in Maine, Montana and Alaska have received grants to use health information technology (HIT) to expand and integrate services—including mental health services—for rural Veterans. However, little is known about the challenges these programs face on the ground, or what conditions and program strategies may facilitate success. This study will consist of case studies of these programs in each of the three states, and will identify best practices and barriers for implementing rural HIT initiatives that could inform future strategies in this area.


  • Health Information Exchange: A Strategy for Improving Access for Rural Veterans in the Maine Flex Rural Veterans Health Access Program
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2016
    This paper reports on the design and implementation of a first-in-the-nation project to expand rural veterans' access to healthcare by establishing a bi-directional connection between Maine's statewide health information exchange (HIE) and Veterans Administration facilities and centers.
  • Rural Vets: Their Barriers, Problems, Needs
    Journal Article
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 05/2013
    Evolving population trends--the aging of rural veterans, the growing number of female veterans and rates of homelessness among veterans--place significant demands on VA and rural delivery systems. Coordination among healthcare providers is essential to increasing the availability of services and expanding veteran outreach programs.