Life in rural communities attracts many people for its unique advantages, but it also brings obstacles when it comes to healthcare. Due to physician shortages, many rural health clinics have been forced to close their doors, requiring patients to drive even further to receive the care they need. Those most affected by this trend are pregnant women.

“The closest place for the patients to deliver is Duluth, Minnesota, which is about 150 miles away,” said Dr. Paula Termuhlen, regional dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth campus, after the clinic in Grand Marais closed.

Women in labor aren't the only concern, however. Mental health care in rural communities is also a rising concern. Though, new technologies are being developed to address the issue.

“Telemedicine is ideally suited to be able to help individuals receive counseling of a variety of types, and then also to be able to provide support to the frontline physicians and advanced practice providers like nurse practitioners, doctors of nursing practice, physician assistants, who might be the ones providing that immediate care,” Dr. Termuhlen told US News & World Report in an interview.