The health care systems in Australia are under pressure from workforce shortages, increasing costs and an ageing population with a high prevalence of chronic disease. There is a well-established description of inequity in health outcomes among rural and remote populations. Most of the inequity appears to be due to poorer access to services than higher levels of health risk factors, such as cholesterol, blood pressure or obesity. Over the last 15 years, the science of improvement has led to quality improvement techniques, such as collaboratives, managed clinical networks and collaborative care, all of which have been tried successfully in Australia. Each of these offers ways to reduce the inequity in health outcomes attributed to rurality or remoteness.