Objective: The goal of this study was to provide an independent and objective evaluation of the implementation of the Federal Communications Commission's Rural Health Care Pilot Program. Materials and Methods: Thirty-nine of the programs that were provided funding through this program were interviewed and asked about their project deployment, network planning, and the involvement of their state in implementation. Results: Results showed that programs recruited project team members from a variety of fields to fulfill different roles. Network partners were often chosen because they were stakeholders in the outcome of the project and because they had a past working relationship with the grant-receiving programs. In terms of deployment, many programs had made progress in filling out necessary paperwork and were tracking milestones, but had experienced changes since first receiving funding, such as losing participants. Additionally, many encountered challenges that inhibited deployment, such as coping with rule fluctuations. Many of the programs received support from their respective state governments in project development, often through matching funds, but few states were involved in the actual management of projects. Conclusions: As rural healthcare facilities often lack the information technology infrastructure compared with many urban facilities, it is important to understand the implementation process for programs such as the Rural Health Care Pilot Program and to examine what contributes to progress, stagnation, or disintegration. Although the programs reported some success, almost all had encountered challenges that inhibited implementation. A follow-up study is planned to further investigate deployment and determine the implications of Federal Communications Commission funding.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management