Rural Health Network Development / Communities of Practice

Rural health networks are uniquely positioned to advance population health and respond to changes in the healthcare environment based on their ability to generate cost savings and efficiencies; conduct continuous quality improvement initiatives; pool resources; and provide a wider range of services to their communities than any single healthcare entity can on its own. Delivery system reform over the coming years will require collaboration and network participation that is focused on quality improvement across multiple community sectors, with the goal of improving population health. Rural health networks provide evidence of the benefits of such collaboration—collaboration that improves population health while addressing the social determinants of health, which are primary components of any patient value proposition. Addressing these factors requires a holistic, community approach that brings together non-traditional partners such as faith-based organizations, school systems, food banks, housing departments, transportation, and other agencies that are integral to overcoming care challenges and barriers.

Community of Practice

The term community of practice (CoP) refers to a group of people similarly trained and qualified who work together to solve problems and deepen their knowledge and expertise about some aspect of their chosen profession or job responsibilities. In a CoP, participants come together to share ideas and best practices, as well as to both learn from others and contribute to discussions so that others learn from them.

Project ECHO™ (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a movement to de-monopolize knowledge and amplify local capacity that provides best-practice care for underserved people all over the world. The ECHO model is committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations by equipping communities with the right knowledge, at the right place, at the right time.


The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) is a national organization representing more than 30 member regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) and state/regional affiliated partners. These multi-stakeholder organizations are working in their regions and collaborating across regions to transform the healthcare delivery system.


A learning management system, or “LMS”, is a software tool that is used to manage, create and deliver online courses and programs. Our LMS (the QC Learning Lab) has been designed to support health care providers and practice teams with flexible and on-demand access to online learning opportunities. Our online courses and modules are designed to be informative and engaging, while giving participants the opportunity to earn continuing medical education credits around a community of practice model.