Many rural communities across canada are facing challenges to the sustainability of core emergency and acute care health services, primarily due to problems with medical and nursing staffing. Data related to service efficacy and effectiveness are not well organized. Most of Canada still relies on reporting by large geopolitical areas (local health areas) that do not always relate natural catchment population outcomes to community hospital services. Re-organizing rural health services' outcome reporting by the characteristics of geographically defined catchment populations would facilitate better planning, systemic quality improvement and stronger continuing professional development for health professionals. It may also serve to inform the transformation of core health services in larger communities.
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