Journal of Rural Health 11:9-21, 1995.
The growing interest in health care networks is extraordinary given the lack of a common understanding of what networks are and what they can accomplish. The purpose of this article is to develop a conceptual approach to the study of vertically integrated rural health networks. This article provides a network typology, a framework for assessing network performance, and examples of measurable performance indicators. It concludes with a description of the salient research questions that need to be addressed concerning the relationships between the environment, structure, and performance of vertically integrated rural health networks.