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Georgia’s Rural Center has teamed up with key partners to explore the potential resources and options

available to build sustainable capacity for all of the state’s providers, including those in rural areas. 




Collaboration could not come at a more critical time. Hospitals delivering services in Georgia’s small towns and rural communities are dealing with shrinking reimbursement, obstacles to physician recruitment, high technology and labor costs and a rapidly aging population. Challenges such as economic and educational disparities, coupled with rural isolation, present additional hurdles in the recruitment and retention of a skilled workforce in these areas.


It is true that technology often creates equal levels of excitement and skepticism. As institutions race to innovate, their efforts will be tested by limited resources, a risk-averse and protocol-driven health care mentality, organizational silos that inhibit collaboration, and difficulty transitioning projects to implementation. There is a largely untapped opportunity for healthcare organizations to leverage Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to improve or expand their services for the benefit of their patients, providers and learners. Simulations, planning and training, virtual diagnostics and research models are on the horizon. Virtual reality isn’t just changing the face of medicine for doctors, however, but for patients as well.

The ability to touch and interact naturally with virtual and mixed augmented environments is transforming the way industries train workers and bring products to market. The health care industry is at the forefront of this shift and set to be transformed by advancements.

Today we stand at a tipping point.

There is no question that health care educators and

providers have to collaborate, because one thing is clear:

Health care is constantly changing.


There are so many new technologies and applications flooding into the market, it is hard for many to know where to start. There is no one-size-fits all model. The benefits of simulation and other innovative technologies are being seen now beyond the walls of the hospital and are even incorporated into programs in public health, dentistry and veterinary medicine. Systems around the country are finding ways to eliminate obstacles to execute effective innovation—increasing precision, decreasing complications and reducing trauma.



These systems necessitate innovation, not incremental change. The facilitation of meaningful change requires a mindset distinct from the protocol-driven health care space. So, how can your organization become more innovative? One path that has led to success is to create a collaborative innovation and technology center. However, innovation efforts often lack the coordination needed for effective execution, resulting in duplicative efforts and a lack of access to appropriate resources.

Georgia’s Rural Center believes that by working together, organizations can share ideas, programs and services for the benefit of their patients and the communities they serve while preserving their own unique organizational culture and local control. This is a novel, innovative concept and we believe the possibilities are only limited by our collective imagination.


That is why we are evaluating the development of a regional simulation and innovation center. The project’s goals are to build academic and clinical partnerships across south Georgia and to enhance experiential learning opportunities for learners and providers while serving as a focal point and catalyst for the development, understanding and advancement of simulation and related technologies throughout the region.

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