'Almost the Uber of how we deliver care': UVM Health CEO on creative rural staffing solutions

The CEOs of three New England health systems said they are struggling to find staffing in rural communities even as they increase training opportunities, NBC affiliate WPTZ reported May 22. 

The CEOs from Burlington, Vt.-based UVM Health Network, Lebanon, N.H.-based Dartmouth Health and Portland-based Maine Health discussed rural healthcare challenges during a roundtable, according to the report. The health system leaders said housing and transportation make it difficult for physicians and nurses to settle into rural communities, leading the systems to continue using travel nurses and technicians at a high rate. 

UVM Health Network CEO Sunny Eappen, MD, said the healthcare industry should move away from a more rigid approach to staffing. 

"I think we're going to have to be more creative, almost the Uber of how we deliver care," he said. "If you can imagine shifts going up and people can pick them on their phone. People can say, 'Oh my husband, wife or spouse is home today, I can work.'"

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