Being able to obtain quality healthcare is a must for patients. It doesn’t matter how many amazing medical providers are out there if patients don’t have access to them.
However, many patients struggle to see the right doctor to treat and maintain a condition. Here are some of the most common obstacles people face when trying to access healthcare:
Physician Shortages in Rural Areas
There are plenty of high-quality doctors in big cities. Unfortunately, locating a specialist in a rural area often poses more problems. Patients who live further away from industrial areas may face a shortage when it comes to finding a clinic or doctor. Medical care options tend to be more limited in these regions, and patients are more likely to forego treatment if care isn’t accessible. However, there are alternatives to visiting a traditional doctor’s office.
Rocket Doctor can help patients connect with skilled providers through telemedicine. This new approach to medicine makes doctors from all specialties accessible to rural patients. Doctors conduct appointments via telephone or video call. It helps close geographical gaps and ensures everyone can find the right physician for their needs.
Limited Appointment Hours
The majority of doctor’s offices operate during standard work hours, often between 8 am and 6 pm. However, many patients work or have other obligations during these hours. The need for expanded appointment hours is more crucial than ever.
Urgent care clinics provide medical care to patients outside regular office hours. Telemedicine is another way patients can access care at a time that’s more convenient to them. Providers who offer extended hours or staggered appointment times will be able to see more patients throughout the week.
For some people, getting to the clinic is a challenge. Every year, 3.6 million patients skip seeing their doctor due to transportation issues. Financial barriers and physical limitations may prevent a person from seeking care in a timely manner. Unfortunately, patients who forego treatment often have poorer outcomes.
What’s the solution to these transportation obstacles? Affordable and convenient public transportation is a must. Some rideshare companies, including Uber and Lyft, have also made a pact to provide low-cost or free transportation for patients who need it the most. The community partnerships help keep patients healthier and happier.
Finding the Right Care Facility
While most people know how to find a general practitioner, many of them struggle to locate the right facility. Patients often find themselves choosing between urgent care, retail clinics, micro-hospitals, or the emergency department. This influx of alternative treatment sites often makes it challenging for patients to know which one to visit. For example, when should they visit a freestanding emergency room instead of an urgent care clinic?
Educating patients about the different types of medical facilities is a must. Doctors teach patients which symptoms indicate a visit to another facility, and providers should clearly state which ailments they specialize in treating. Ensuring patients find the right facility will improve medical outcomes and help reduce costs.
Making Healthcare Accessible to All
Everyone needs access to quality healthcare without any barriers. Accessible healthcare is key to a healthy community. However, certain challenges may keep people from scheduling well-visit or even emergency appointments. Medical providers should work together to help tear down these barriers to ensure everyone can visit a doctor when needed.