SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Dozens of Sanford Health care providers and industry leaders attended the second annual, “Future of Rural Health Care” summit in Sioux Falls.
Some of the challenges facing rural health care revolve around accessibility. This year’s summit highlighted efforts to combat burnout among nurses and how to better use technology.

“How do we reduce that burden from our frontline teams in the acute care setting. And then how do we actually increase patient safety at the same time, it’s fun to see our teams engaged in technology and how we can think about doing our work differently,” said Erica Deboer, chief nursing officer at Sanford Health.

Toni Thomas, the chief experience officer at Microsoft for health and life sciences, says incorporating tech within rural spaces is a start.

“How do we extend virtual health out into the community but also how do we use virtual tools to supplement the nursing care delivery,” said Thomas.

Although an increase in remote care is already being seen, ensuring rural communities have the tools to use it was top of mind.

“It would definitely improve the access and just part of using virtual tools is also skilling the people in our communities, making sure that they have access to 5g broadband,” said Thomas.

DeBoer agreed saying it’s a team effort not just an increase in technology alone.

“Technology can’t just be laid over top bad processes that don’t make us efficient. So we have to dig deep into our traditional processes that we have and refine the way we do that,” said Deboer.

With staffing in mind, DeBoer says the increased use of tech will make health care more accessible.
“It’s really leveraging technology to get rid of some of the non-value add work so that our people can lean in and truly show the care to our patient population that we have,” said DeBoer.

Currently, Sanford offers “E-visits” where you can virtually seek medical care without going into a clinic.