Small Size as an Advantage for Rural Hospitals: Smart Use of Technology + Manual Approaches

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This article is part of the Dexur's Rural Health Newsletter, which is focused on Rural Healthcare’s operations, technology, quality, safety, risk, compliance and learning topics. Please email to join this newsletter and receive updates (not more than once per week)

In the healthcare industry, large organizations face significant challenges due to their size and complexity. Cross-departmental coordination is a critical requirement to mitigate risk, often leading to bureaucratic inertia. Large hospitals rely on massive, centralized systems designed for economies of scale, but these can be slow and costly to alter. When faced with problems, these institutions typically turn to technology as a solution, inflating capital expenditure (Capex) budgets and return on investment (ROI) benchmarks, thus creating barriers to change.

In contrast, rural hospitals have a unique advantage because of their small size. These institutions can efficiently drive change through the alignment of just a few key teams, circumventing the need for broad organizational buy-in. They are well-positioned to implement unified solutions that address adjacent needs without the compulsion to integrate every system with another. This approach allows for more immediate, flexible, and responsive healthcare delivery, which can lead to significant improvements in patient outcomes and operational efficiency.

The smaller scale of rural hospitals means they can use technology more judiciously. Instead of immediate, large-scale tech deployments, they have the luxury of starting with manual processes, which can be iterative and evolve over time. This measured approach allows for a careful assessment of what works and what doesn't, ensuring that technology serves as a tool to enhance, rather than dictate, the flow of hospital operations.

While large healthcare institutions might see small size as a limitation, rural hospitals demonstrate that a smaller footprint can be a strategic advantage. The capacity for rapid change, targeted solution implementation, and judicious technology use can set these small-sized hospitals apart, enabling them to deliver high-quality healthcare with agility and efficiency that larger systems may struggle to match. This adaptability can turn the perceived underdog status of rural healthcare facilities into a source of competitive advantage, showcasing that when it comes to healthcare delivery, smaller can indeed be mightier.

This nimbleness is where Dexur's approach aligns seamlessly with the operational ethos of rural healthcare facilities. Recognizing the constraints of size and budget, Dexur’s Unified Quality, Safety and Incident system is crafted to address the intertwined needs of Quality, Risk and Compliance within these smaller institutions. With Dexur, rural hospitals can sidestep the complexity of full-scale EHR integration, opting instead for an interconnected approach that harmonizes with existing processes, while still driving significant improvements in care quality and compliance.